CA Abhianchal Dua
Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana is a small deposit scheme of the Government of India meant exclusively for a girl child and is launched as a part of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Campaign. Sukanya Samriddhi Account scheme is meant to meet the education and marriage expenses of a girl child. It is currently fetching higher interest rate and provides income-tax rebate.
A Sukanya Samriddhi Account can be opened any time after the birth of a girl till she turns 10, with a minimum deposit of Rs 250. The account will remain operative for 21 years from the date of its opening or till the marriage of the girl after she turns 18.
The account can be opened in any post office or authorised branches of commercial banks.
The account can be opened by the natural or legal guardian in the name of the girl from her birth till she turns 10. Only one account can be opened for a per girl child i.e. you cannot open two accounts for one girl. An account under this Scheme may be opened for a maximum of two girl children in one family.
The account can be opened with an initial deposit of Rs 250 and thereafter, any amount in multiple of Rs 50 can be deposited. A minimum of Rs.250 must be deposited in the account annually. The maximum deposit limit is Rs.1, 50, 000. If the minimum deposit is not made in a year, a fine of Rs.50 will be levied.
Deposits in the account can be made till the completion of 15 years, from the date of the opening of the account. For example, if the girl child is 9-years-old at the time of opening of account, deposits have to continue till the child turns 24 (i.e. 9 plus 15 years). Between ages 24 and 30 (when the account matures), the account keeps earning interest on the balance.
The account is opened and operated by the natural or legal guardian of the girl child in her name till she turns 18. When she turns 18, the girl child can operate the account herself; however, deposit in the account may be made by the guardian or any other person or authority.
To meet the financial requirements of the account holder for the purpose of higher education, withdrawal of up to 50 per cent of the balance at the credit of the account at the end of preceding financial year is allowed. However, the withdrawal will be allowed only when the account holder turns 18 or has passed tenth standard, whichever is earlier.
The account matures on the completion of 21 years from the date of opening of the account or whenever the girl child gets married, whichever is earlier.
If the marriage of the girl takes place before the completion of 21 years, then the operation of the account will not be permitted beyond the date of her marriage.
Also the account holder will have to give an affidavit to the effect that she is not below 18 as on the date of closing of account. On maturity, the balance, including the interest outstanding in the account, will be payable to the account holder on the production of withdrawal slip along with the passbook.
Also please note that no such closure shall be allowed before one month from the date of the intended marriage or after three months from the date of marriage.
The amount deposited in this scheme will be eligible for deduction under Section 80C of IT Act, 1961, till the maximum limit of Rs. 1,50,000. The interest received on this account is exempt from tax also the amount received on maturity is tax-free. That is the reason it is considered one of the best investment as well as tax saving plan now-a-days.
The scheme is quite noble and would certainly provide a lot of financial independence to the girl child as well as their parents along with higher interest and tax savings benefits.
(Republished With Amendments)