WHAT IS SUKANYA SAMRIDDHI YOJANA?
SUKANYA SAMRIDDHI YOJANA has been introduced by the government because raising a girl child hold a certain stigma in India. Maybe not so much in metros but in rural areas, the social stigma still prevails. The sinking girl to boy ratio is a documented proof of that fact. The government has made various efforts to promote the birth and education of girl child.
Seafarers who have been blessed with a girl child can surely look into these government initiated schemes. I do understand that you may have invested in much more lucrative schemes for your child, but a government scheme does offer a level of security so it’s always better to have one for your daughter.
The particular reason for writing this article is to make my fellow mariners aware of a particular government initiative related to girl child education amongst other programs. Empowering a girl essentially empowers an entire family, the social structure of a typical Indian family revolves around that. An educated girl who understand the importance of knowledge is much more capable of taking life decisions and can teach others to do so. They can become equally productive and self-sustaining in any industry, like any man.
The following are the details of the scheme
SUKANYA SAMRIDDHI YOJANA
It was launched by Prime Minister Modi in order to safeguard the interests of the girl child. It offers various benefits which would assist the higher education and marriage of the child.
Launch Date: 21st January 2015 (Under the Beti Bacho, Beti Padhao campaign)
- Girl Child only
- On the day of opening the account, the girl child should be 10 years of age or younger.
- Child should be an Indian citizen
Who can Invest
The parent or legal guardian of the girl child.
- Maximum investment in a year: 1,50,000 INR
- Minimum investment per year, 1000INR and then in multiples of 100INR
- No limit on the number of deposits in the entire year
- Deposits can be made as one-time amount or can be spread out like an SIP
Tip: For sailors, it would be better if the investment is split into two halves, of 75,000INR each. To be paid in the first half and second half of the financial year.
Mode of Deposits
- Cheque/Cash/Demand Draft. Online payment is not available as of now.
Tenure of Scheme
- Deposits would mature 21 years after opening the account.
- Deposits need to be made for 14 years, after opening the account.
- Until the girl child is 10 years of age, her guardian/parent would operate the account on her behalf. Post 10 years of age, she is eligible to operate the account herself.
- Premature withdrawal is not allowed.
- Maximum of 50% of the entire deposit amount can be withdrawn if needed for the higher education or marriage of the girl child, once she has reached the age of 18 years.
- Account closure is mandatory in the event of the marriage of the girl child.
- The scheme only supports the child up to the age of 21 years from the date of opening the account or occurrence of marriage, whichever of the two is earlier.
- If the child has not married after the maturity of the account (21 years from the date of account opening), and the account is NOT closed after maturity, then, in that case, the balance would continue to earn interest as per the prevailing interest rates at that time.
Rate of Interest for the scheme
- The rate would be announced by the government every financial year.
- The current interest rate (FY 2016- 2017) is 9.2 % (Compounded annually)
- Interest calculation is similar to PPF.
- A parent/guardian can open only one account in the name of one girl
- One parent/guardian can open a maximum of 3 accounts, only in case he/she has 3 girl child in first birth or twin girl child in the 2nd
- If the minimum deposit is not made in the year, the account will be discontinued. However, it can be renewed after paying a penalty of 50 INR along with the minimum deposit.
Where can the account be opened
- The account can be opened in any public sector bank or post office.
- It can then be transferred to any city in India, at a later stage if need be.
Documents required for account opening
- Identity proof of depositor
- Residence proof
- Birth certificate of the girl child
- The interest earned under this scheme is tax-free and will be collected in the account itself.
- A maximum of 1,50,000 INR can be claimed under as deduction under the section 80c of the income tax act.
- The maturity amount at the end of the scheme would be paid in its entirety to the girl child and would be completely tax-free.
Note: No loan can be availed under this scheme. Also, it does not provide any kind of insurance.
Other initiatives of the government
Free basic education i.e. from 1st standard to 10th standard in government schools is mandatory now. Along with free education free of cost, mid-day meals for all students is also provided in these schools. The schools receive the financial grant directly from the government annually/semi-annually or Quarterly. In Rural regions of India where education is still being not considered important, the girls are being paid every day with a certain amount so that their parents agree to let their girls go to school and educate.
NSDP (National Skill Development Program)
Vocational training to girls aged above 16 is being provided under this scheme. Under this scheme, the total funding of all the admissions of female candidates will be done by the government. The girls undergo the training to develop skill and empower themselves. The detailed evaluation is done under the following 6 criteria:
- Employer view of demand for a specific skill
- Ability to leverage partnerships
- Provide skills so that these skills make the girls totally independent
- Choosing the skills according to the market response so that the girl earns a respectable income
- Provide status to these girls in the society
NABARD’s Priyadarshini Program
Under Priyadarshini Program, holistic empowerment of 1,80,000 poor women and adolescent girls is done through the formation of 7200 SHG’s. This scheme was basically being launched in Uttar Pradesh but now is being campaigned in many other cities too. The basic amenities such as food, water, shelter, clothes, a safe and protective environment is being provided under this scheme. Similar is the program being launched in Bihar under the name NIRDESH.