In the last full budget of the Modi government before the 2024 general elections, the finance minister has announced a budget to focus on seven priorities – Inclusive Development, Reaching the Last Mile, Infrastructure and Investment, Unleashing the Potential, Green Growth, Youth Power, and Financial Sector. Apart from the change in the income tax slabs, the government doled out sops for women, senior citizens, and common taxpayers. Here are some announcements that brought smiles to the faces of women, senior citizens and taxpayers.
Economic empowerment of women is an important theme across the Budget, and for commemorating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the finance minister stated that 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 upto 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 a partial withdrawal option.
Adhil Shetty, CEO, Bankbazaar.com, says, “The Mahila Samman Savings Certificate is a small savings scheme made available for two years up to March 2025. At first, it will offer a deposit facility for a tenor of 2 years for investments of up to Rs 2 lakh to women depositors. The scheme offers a fixed interest of 7.5%, comes with an option for partial withdrawal, and is the shortest-tenor small savings scheme. The average tenor of small savings schemes is usually upwards of 5 years, going up to 15-21 years or more.”
For instance, the Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme, which is the other women-oriented scheme, is meant for investments for the girl child and is a long-term scheme with restrictions on withdrawals. “The Mahila Samman Savings Certificate is an alternative to FDs for women investors looking to invest for the short term. The returns are higher than many FDs, and partial withdrawal makes liquidity accessible when in need,” explains Shetty.
Senior citizens often park their money in those financial products which promise higher returns without any risk to the principal amount. To consider this and for the empowerment of Senior Citizens, the finance minister extended the deposit limit. The maximum deposit limit for Senior Citizen Savings Scheme has now been enhanced from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 30 lakh. It will help senior citizens have more money in their hands.
Monthly Income Account Scheme
It is a low-risk financial product that generates steady income. Further, the maximum deposit limit for Monthly Income Account Scheme will be enhanced from Rs 4.5 lakh to Rs 9 lakh for a single account and from Rs 9 lakh to Rs 15 lakh for a joint account.