March 19: In a move that will hit common man, the government on Friday slashed interest rates on all small savings schemes, including Public Provident Fund (PPF), Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) and senior citizen deposits, to make them more market aligned.
The interest rate on PPF scheme has been cut to 8.1% for the period April 1 to June 30, from 8.7%, at present.
Similarly, the interest rate on Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) will be reduced to 7.8% from 8.7% while senior citizen savings scheme of five years would earn 8.6% interest compared with 9.3%.
Girl-child saving scheme, Sukanya Samriddhi Account will see the interest rate of 8.6% as against 9.2%, according to a Finance Ministry order.
Terming the decision slashing of interest rates as a “normal exercise of resetting” rates in March every year, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said, “this will enable banks to consequently reduce their deposit rates and extend loan and credit to public and borrowers at lower rates.”
However, unlike previous years when interest rates were set for the full year, the government will from now on set interest rates every quarter based on previous three-month yields on Government-Securities or G-Sec.
While the interest rate on Post Office savings has been retained at 4%, the same for term deposits of one to five years has been cut.
The popular Five-Year National Savings Certificates will earn an interest rate of 8.1% from April 1 as against 8.5%, at present.
A five-year Monthly Income Account will fetch 7.8% as opposed to 8.4% now.
Interest rate cuts on small savings sechemes:
|Savings Plans||Revised Rate||Old Rate|
|Public Provident Fund||8.1%||8.7%|
|Kisan Vikas Patra||7.8%||8.7%|
|Post Office Deposit (1 Year)||7.1%||8.4%|
|Post Office Deposit (2 Year)||7.2%||8.4%|
|Post Office Deposit (3 Year)||7.4%||8.4%|
|Post Office Deposit (5 Year)||7.9%||8.5%|
|Sukanya Samriddhi Account||8.6%||9.2%|
|Senior Citizen Savings Scheme||8.6%||9.3%|
|Postal Savings Deposit||4%||4%|
“This is being done to make small saving interest rates more market linked and more market aligned,” Das told reporters.
Asked when banks will cut rates, he said, “Banks will have to decide on their own. Government has given signals to them. It is for the banks to take decision and move forward.”
Post Office term deposits of one, two and three years command an interest rate of 8.4% but from April 1, a one-year Time Deposit will get 7.1%, two-year Time Deposit will earn 7.2% and 3-Year Time Deposit will attract interest of 7.4%.
Five-year time deposit will fetch 7.9% interest in the first quarter as against 8.5% while the same on five-year recurring deposit has been slashed to 7.4% from 8.4%.
“On the basis of the decisions of the government, interest rates for small savings schemes are to be notified on quarterly basis,” the order said announcing the rates for the first quarter of fiscal 2016-17.
The government had on February 16 announced moving small saving interest rates closer to market rates. On that day, rates on short-term post office deposits was cut by 0.25% but long-term instruments such as MIS, PPF, senior citizen and girl child schemes were left untouched.
Post office savings of 1, 2 and 3-year term deposits, KVP as well as 5-year Recurring Deposits till now earned 0.25% higher interest than the government securities of similar tenures.
This advantage has been withdrawn with effect from April 1, 2016, the Finance Ministry said.
On February 16, the government had left Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, Senior Citizen Savings Scheme and the Monthly Income Scheme (MIS) — which command 0.75%, 1% and 0.25% higher interest rate respectively than G-secs — untouched, saying they are linked to social security goals.
Similarly, long-term instruments such as 5-year term deposit and similar tenure National Saving Certificates as well as Public Provident Fund (PPF) had been left unchanged.
But today, the interest rates on all these deposits have been cut.
Kisan Vikas Patra or KVP that currently provides for doubling of principal in 100 months (8 years and 4 months) will now be doubled in 110 months (9 years and 2 months) after the interest rate revision.
In February, the government had stated that the cut in small savings interest rate would help the economy move to “a lower overall interest rate regime eventually and thereby help all, particularly low-income and salaried classes”.
The government has also permitted premature closure of PPF accounts “in genuine cases”, like serious ailment or higher education of children.
“This shall be permitted with a penalty of 1 per cent reduction in interest payable on the whole deposit and only for the accounts having completed five years from the date of opening,” it added.
The interest rate for every quarter would be decided on the 15th of the preceding month.
So, for the April-June quarter, rates should have been set on March 15 but they were delayed. The rates for April-June quarter are based on G-Sec rates that prevailed in the previous three months — that is December, January and February.
Interest rate for July-September quarter will be announced on June 15, Das said.