Presenting the annual budget for fiscal year 2023-24, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday announced a new scheme for women Mahila Samman Savings Certificate.
The one-time new small saving scheme will offer an interest rate of 7.5 per cent for a maximum deposit of Rs 2 lakh. The scheme will be available for years up to March 2025.
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The Mahila Samman Savings Certificate is aimed at ensuring women’s safety and welfare. The scheme is expected to provide a major boost to the government’s initiatives for girls and women’s empowerment.
“For commemorating ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, a one-time new small savings scheme, Mahila Samman Savings Certificate, will be made available for a two-year period up to March 2025.
“This will offer deposit facility up to Rs 2 lakh in the name of women or girls for a tenor of 2 years at fixed interest rate of 7.5 per cent with partial withdrawal option,” Sitharaman said.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development runs several other welfare programmes for women and girls, which include Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, One Stop Centres, Nari Adalat, Mahila Police Volunteer, Women’s Helpline, etc. In the 2022 Budget, the ministry had received around Rs 20,263 crore.
Commenting on the budget, Abhishek Dev, CEO and co-founder of Epsilon Money Mart, said, “The increase in small savings investment limits for senior citizen and introduction of a new small savings scheme for women is a great initiative to help protect retirement corpus and income for senior citizen and increased financial savings habits, inclusion and financial independence for women. These steps will help further strengthen our society’s financial health.
Abhishek Y. Bhavsar, an Ahmedabad-based chartered accountant, said: “It's a welcome move as it will encourage more risk-free investments and secure the women financially. It can be inferred that the government is taking steps to enable the women become independent and participate in India's growth journey.”
The government has also increased the maximum deposit limit for Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS) from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 30 lakh. Also, the maximum deposit limit for Monthly Income Account Scheme (MIAS) has been enhanced from Rs 4.5 lakh to Rs 9 lakh for single account and from Rs 9 lakh to Rs 15 lakh for joint account.
“Our vision for the ‘Amrit Kaal’ includes technology-driven and knowledge-based economy with strong public finances, and a robust financial sector. To achieve this, ‘Jan Bhagidari’ through ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Prayas’ is essential,” Sitharaman said.
Dev added, “Financial literacy and awareness is the first step towards better financial management and financial independence whether it is for individuals or companies managed by them.
“Easy availability of age appropriate financial literature is a fundamental step which has been taken by the government to help build a financially aware and healthy society. This will go a long way in build India as a developed economy."