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Current Affairs

EPFO cuts interest rates

Date: 06 March 2020 Tags: Banking & Financial Sector

Issue

The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has cut the rate to 8.5 per cent for 2019-20 from the 8.65 per cent in the previous fiscal. This is the lowest interest on provident fund in seven years.

 

Background

There are over 6 crore active subscribers of EPFO and an interest of 8.5% will leave a surplus of Rs 700 crore for the government.

 

Details

  • Both the Finance Committee and the Central Board of Trustees (CBT) met to decide the interest rate based on EPFO’s income projections for the current financial year. The CBT is the EPFO’s apex decision making body.

  • As per calculations presented at a meeting, retaining the 2018-19 interest rate of 8.65% would have left a deficit of around Rs 350 crore, while cutting it to 8.45% would have resulted in a surplus of Rs 1,000 crore.

  • The overall rate regime is being viewed closely in view of the economic slowdown and rising inflation. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had kept the status quo on its key policy rate during its monetary policy review last month.

  • After the EPFO’s CBT recommends the interest rate, it has to be ratified by the Finance Ministry, after which the interest is credited to the accounts of the EPFO’s subscribers.

  • The Finance Ministry, however, has hinted at moving to a new regime for small savings rates starting April 1. As of now, small savings rates are linked to government securities, and are revised quarterly.

Saving schemes of government

  • Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY)

Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana Scheme was launched with an aim to encourage the parents to secure the future for their daughters. SSY account can be opened in the name of the girl from her birth to any time before she turns 10 years old. The minimum investment amount for this scheme is INR 1,000 to a maximum of INR 1.5 lakh per year. Sukanya Samriddhi scheme is operative for 21 years from the date of opening.

  • National Pension Scheme (NPS)

It is a retirement saving scheme open to all the Indians, but mandatory for all the government employees. NPS aims to provide retirement income to the citizens of India. Indian citizens and NRIs in the age group of 18 to 60 can subscribe to this scheme. Under NPS scheme, you can allocate your funds in equity, corporate Bonds and government securities.

  • Public Provident Fund (PPF)

Public Provident Fund or PPF is also one of the oldest retirement schemes launched by the Government of India. The amount invested in this scheme, interest earned and the amount withdrawn are all exempt from tax. Thus, the Public Provident Fund is not only safe, but can help save taxes at the same time.

  • National Savings Certificate (NSC)

National Saving Certificate or NSC is launched by the Government of India to promote the habit of savings amongst the Indians. The minimum investment amount for this scheme is INR 100 and there is no maximum investment amount.