In a bid to generate more interest among people in opening Selvamagal Semippu accounts (SSA) in the names of their daughters, the postal department has relaxed certain norms.
Now, people can pay deposits for 15 years towards SSA from the time of opening of the savings account. Earlier, it was restricted to 14 years. At present, long-term saving schemes like Public Provident Fund scheme too accept deposits for 15 years. The SSA scheme was launched in February last year for the welfare of girl children. Currently, there are over 12.34 lakh accounts across the State, with nearly 4.38 accounts in Chennai city.
Restrictions on withdrawal were a hitch in attracting more investors to the scheme. Customers could opt for partial withdrawal only when the applicant turned 18 years old. Now, account holders can withdraw up to 50 per cent of the balance accrued till the previous financial year for higher education once the girl child completes class X.
Officials of postal department said the account holder had to produce documentary proof like fee receipt to withdraw from their balance, including an option of withdrawing in five instalments. People will have to pay a minimum of Rs.1,000 to avoid penalty charges. However, depositors in SSA have to wait for 21 years for the amount to mature. They also have an option to close the account one month before or three months after the wedding date.
Another norm relaxed now is the option for premature closure after five years of opening the account in case of medical expenditure of account holder or death of guardian. “There has not been any dip in new accounts because of the reduction in interest rate and it continues to be one of the popular savings scheme. On an average, nearly 18,000 SSAs are being opened in the city post offices. Nearly Rs. 324 crore has been deposited through SSA so far,” said an official.
Source : http://www.thehindu.com