Updated: Jul 30, 2020
The Popular girl child scheme Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana has undergone some changes. Through a notification dated December 12, 2019, the finance ministry has repealed the existing scheme rules and replaced them with new ones.
Though there are no major changes in the new Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana scheme rules, you should know about the small modifications that have been made. Here are five changes that have been made to the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana Scheme.
Higher interest rate for default accounts
According to the scheme rules, if you do not deposit even the minimum amount i.e. Rs 250 in a financial year in the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana account, it will be considered as an account in default. According to the newly notified rules, such 'default accounts' will earn the interest rate applicable to the scheme, till the maturity date of the account, if not regularised till then.
This is good news for account holders because as per the old rules such default accounts earned only the post office savings bank interest rate. Typically, post office savings bank interest rate (currently 4 per cent) is much lower than the Sukanya Samriddhi scheme's interest rate (currently 8.7 per cent).
Changes in rules for premature closure of account
According to the new scheme rules, the premature closure of a Sukanya Samriddhi account is allowed in case of death of the girl child or on compassionate grounds. Compassionate grounds would include situations such as medical treatment of the account holder for life threatening diseases or death of guardian The old rules of the scheme allowed closure of the account in two cases - due to death of girl child and in case of change in residency status of girl child. Old rules of the scheme allowed the premature closure of account due to change in residency status of girl child as well. However, new rules have not specified whether the account will be allowed to be prematurely closed or have to be continued till maturity.
Operation of account
According to the newly notified rules, the account cannot be operated by the girl child till she attains the age of 18 years as against 10 years as per old rules.
As per the new rules, the account will be operated by the guardian till the account holder (i.e., the girl child) attains the age of 18 years. Once she attains the age of 18 years, then necessary documents are required to be submitted to the bank/post office where the account is being held.
Opening of accounts for more than two girl children
There has been change in the additional documentation required for opening of account in case of more than two girl children. According to the newly notified rules, if accounts are to be opened in case of more than two girl children, then along with the birth certificates, an individual is required to submit an affidavit.
The old rules required the guardian to submit medical certificate. Under the scheme, an account can be opened for a maximum two girl children in one family. If the first birth results in twin/triplets girls, then more accounts cannot be opened in case of second birth of girl child. However, third account can be opened for a girl child in a scenario of birth of twin girls as second birth or if the first birth itself is triplet.
Apart from the above-mentioned changes, in the new rules of Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, certain provisions have been removed and others have been clarified. The new rules have removed the provision of reversing wrongly credited interest in the account considering that as per the new rules the scheme interest now applies in case of all default accounts (and not the Post Office account saving interest rate). Also, under the new rules interest will be credited to the account at the end of the financial year.