FM Nirmala Sitharaman announced a gift to women: The one-time savings scheme for women, called the “Mahila Samman Savings Certificate,” is specifically designed for women and girls in India, offering a fixed interest rate of 7.5% per annum.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the launch of a new savings scheme for women in India, called “Mahila Samman Saving Certificate”, during the Union Budget 2023 presentation on Wednesday, 1 February.
“As we celebrate 75 years of India’s independence, I am proud to announce a new small savings scheme for women and girls – the Mahila Samman Savings Certificate. This one-time opportunity will be available for two years, ending in March 2025, with a fixed interest rate of 7.5%,” announced Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the Union Budget 2023.
The saving scheme for women, which is a one-time small savings opportunity, will offer a fixed interest rate of 7.5% for two years and is aimed at commemorating the 75th anniversary of India’s independence. Women and girls can make deposits in their names, with a maximum deposit amount of Rs 2 lakh and a partial withdrawal facility available.
Sitharaman highlighted the success of the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana National Rural Livelihood Mission, which has mobilized rural women into 81 lakh self-help groups (SHGs). She expressed her plans to enable these groups to reach the next stage of economic empowerment by forming large producer enterprises or collectives with several thousand members and managing professionally.
In addition, the finance minister announced an increase in the amount of money that can be invested in senior citizen saving schemes and postal monthly income schemes, providing financial security for investors looking for regular income in times of high inflation. The schemes are backed by a sovereign and carry no credit risk.
The Union Budget 2023 also saw an increase in the allocation for the Women and Child Development Ministry, with an additional Rs 267 crore from the previous year’s allocation of Rs 25,172.28 crore. These policies and investments aim to support women’s economic empowerment and ensure financial security for the future.
No Major Schemes?
Despite the government’s claims of a “women-friendly” Budget for 2023, experts in the social sector believe that the budget falls short of providing major support for women. Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani, stated that the budget has increased “respect for women”.
“I am thrilled to see the increased respect for women reflected in the latest budget. Additionally, I warmly welcome the announcement of a National Digital Library for children and adolescents, as access to education and resources is crucial in shaping their futures.” Smt. Irani said.
However, according to Pranay Aggarwal, a sociology faculty member at IAS Gurukul, there are no new substantial schemes for women in the budget but rather attempts to enhance existing women’s self-help groups (SHGs).
Aggarwal expressed disappointment with the budget, pointing out the significant gender gap in India on all developmental indicators, and expected a greater focus on women’s issues from a woman Finance Minister.
Highlights of Budget 2022 Announcements for Women
Budget 2022 has been criticized for lacking specific policies to support women. The word “women” appeared only six times in the budget, with no new initiatives announced for gender.
Furthermore, the Gender Budget has decreased from 0.71% of the GDP in the revised estimates for 2021-2022 to 0.66% in the estimates for 2022-2023, according to an analysis by the All India Democratic Women’s Association.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development budget as a portion of the expenditure has also declined from 0.57% to 0.51%, with the ministry receiving a budget of Rs 20,263.07 crore. The allocation for schemes under the ministry aimed at promoting women’s safety, such as Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, One Stop Centres, Nari Adalat, Mahila Police Volunteer, and Women’s Helpline, saw a decline from Rs 587 crore to Rs 562 crore.
On the other hand, Mission Vatsalaya of the same ministry, which includes child welfare and child protection services, saw a 63.5% increase to Rs 900 crore.
In conclusion, the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a one-time small savings scheme for women called “Mahila Samman Saving Certificate” in the Union Budget 2023. The deposit can be made in the name of a woman or girl child for two years with a fixed interest rate of 7.5 percent and a maximum deposit of Rs 2 lakh. The scheme will also have a partial withdrawal facility.
However, experts in the social sector claim that the budget fails to offer any new major schemes for women. Despite the Minister’s optimism, some experts believe that the Union Budget did not give enough attention to women’s issues and the significant gender gap in India on developmental indicators.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is the “Mahila Samman Saving Certificate”?
The “Mahila Samman Saving Certificate” is a one-time small savings scheme for women, announced by the Union Finance Minister in the Union Budget 2023.
What is the fixed interest rate for the “Mahila Samman Saving Certificate”?
The fixed interest rate for the “Mahila Samman Saving Certificate” is 7.5 % for a period of two years.
Who can make a deposit in the “Mahila Samman Saving Certificate”?
The deposit can be made in the name of a woman or a girl child.
What is the maximum deposit amount for the “Mahila Samman Saving Certificate”?
The maximum deposit amount for the “Mahila Samman Saving Certificate” is Rs 2 lakh.
Does the “Mahila Samman Saving Certificate” have a partial withdrawal facility?
Yes, the “Mahila Samman Saving Certificate” has a partial withdrawal facility.