Article explains What is PPF (Public Provident Fund) Scheme, Who are eligible for Public Provident Fund Scheme Accounts, Where Can One open a PPF Account, Documents required for Opening of PPF Account, Public Provident Fund Rules, What are the benefits of PPF Account, What is the biggest draw back of the PPF Scheme, What is the rate of interest on PPF Account, Eligibility for Loan from PPF Account, What is the schedule for withdrawals from PPF account, What will happen if minimum subscription in one particular financial year not made in PPF Account, What are the Rules for Non Resident Indians for Opening / Continuing PPF account opened before they became NRI, What are the options available to the subscriber on maturity of the PPF account, What are the rules for transfer of PPF account from one bank to another bank and What are the rules for nomination in PPF account.
The full form of PPF is Public Provident Fund Scheme. Public Provident Fund scheme of the Central Government was framed under Public Provident Fund Act, 1968. PPF is a government backed, long term small savings scheme, which was initially started by the Government to provide retirement security to self employed individuals and workers in the unorganized sector. However, at present PPF is considered as the best tax saving scheme across all sections of the people who needs to invest to save some tax.
The PPF account can be opened at either of the following :
(a) Branches of State Bank of India and its subsidiaries,
(b) Other designated nationalised banks,
(c) Selected Post Offices across India.
Following documents are usually required for opening a PPF account :-
It is a long term investment, and thus people who are ready to block the funds for longer tenure should opt for this scheme. Although part withdrawals and loans are allowed but these are available only as a small percentage of the total balance.
The rate of interest allowed on PPF account has been less than the inflation rate for number of years and thus some consider these to be negative returns.
NOTE- In spite of these drawbacks PPF is considered as the top scheme for the investors who wish to save tax through Section 80C or earn tax free interest.
The rate of interest payable on PPF balances is now fixed on quarterly basis from 1st April 2016 onwards (previously it was fixed on yearly basis) current interest rate is 7.9% from July 2019 onwards. The rate of interest has fluctuated a lot during last few years. The details of the rate of interest paid during last few years is given below:-
|Period||Interest Rate (p.a.)|
|01st Dec 2011 – 31 March 2012||8.60%|
|01st April 2012 – 31st March 2013||8.80%|
|01st April 2013 – 31st March 2014||8.70%|
|01st April 2014 – 31st March 2015||8.70%|
|01st April 2015 – 31st March 2016||8.70%|
|01st April 2016 – 30th Sept 2016||8.10%|
|01 Oct 2016 – 31st Mar 2017||8.0%|
|01st April, 2017 – 30th June, 2017||7.9%|
|1st July, 2017 – 30th September, 2017||7.8%|
|1st October, 2017 – 31st December, 2017||7.8%|
|1st January 2018 – 31st March 2018||7.6%|
|01st April, 2018 – 30th June, 2018||7.6%|
|1st July, 2018 – 30th September, 2018||7.6%|
|1st October, 2018 – 31st December, 2018||8%|
|1st January 2019 – 31st March 2019||8%|
|01st April, 2019 – 30th June, 2019||8%|
|1st July, 2019 – 30th September, 2019||7.9%|
Interest on PPF is calculated on the minimum balance in your account between the 5th and the last day of every month. Therefore deposit shall be made on or before the 5th of that month, so that interest for the entire month shall be received.
A person having PPF account can avail the loan facility from third financial year upto end of fifth financial year. The loan amount shall be limited to 25% of the balance outstanding to the subscriber’s credit at the end of the second year immediately preceding the financial year in which the loan is requested.
Repayment of Loan Amount : The loan repayment is required to be made in one lump sum or in two or more monthly instalments within 36 month period. After the principal amount of the loan is fully repaid, the subscriber shall pay the interest amount in not more than two monthly instalments. Interest is calculated at 1% on the amount for the period commencing from the first day of the month following the month in which the loan is availed upto the last day of the month in which the last instalment of the loan is repaid.
One can make one withdrawal per year starting from seventh year. The first withdrawal can be done after the expiry of 5th financial years from the end of the year in which initial subscription was made. The amount of withdrawal will be limited to 50% of the outstanding balance credit at the end of the fourth year immediately preceding the year in which the amount is to be withdrawn, or the balance at the end of the preceding year, whichever is lower. Thereafter one withdrawal per year. The withdrawal amounts are not repayable.
Example- An account opened in April 2009 shall be eligible for partial withdrawal from 1st April, 2015. For a partial withdrawal requested in April 2015, the amount of withdrawal will be limited to 50% of the lower of the balances standing to his / her credit as on 31st March, 2012 or as on 31st March, 2015.
In case minimum subscription amount of Rs 500/ not made in a financial year then, such PPF account is marked as discontinued account and shall be again revived by paying a nominal penalty of 50/- and minimum subscription amount for each year in which minimum subscription amount not made. The account will only be closed after maturity and will continue to earn interest till it is closed. The facility of loan or withdrawal will not be allowed from such account. Moreover, such a subscriber can not open another PPF account in addition to the de-activated account,at any other office.
NRIs are not eligible to open fresh PPF account. However, those NRIs who already had a PPF account, when they were resident in India, but became NRI during the tenure of the PPF account, then in that case rules of Pre mature closure of account will be attracted according to Public Provident Fund (PPF) Scheme, 2019
A subscriber has three options at the maturity of the PPF account :-
(a) He / she can withdraw the maturity amount,
(b) he / she can extend the account by a 5 year block, as many times as he / she wants and make fresh contributions every year,
(c) he / she can extend the account without making any further contributions, and continue to earn interest on it every year.
In terms of PPF scheme subscribers can transfer their PPF account from one authorised bank or Post office to another.
PPF Scheme allows nomination of one or more persons to receive the amount standing to the subscriber’s credit in case of death. However, no nomination is possible in case of minor account.
(Republished with amendments)