The government clarified that interest rate for small savings schemes will be declared on 1st April every year and will remain valid till the maturity of the scheme. However, in case of Public Provident Fund, which is a 15-year scheme, interest rates would not remain fixed for the entire period
New Delhi: The government on Wednesday said interest rates on post office savings schemes, except the PPF, will remain fixed throughout the term of the scheme, reports PTI.
It clarified that interest rate for such small savings will be declared on 1st April every year and will remain valid till the maturity of the scheme.
However, in case of Public Provident Fund (PPF), which is a 15-year scheme, interest rates would not remain fixed for the entire period. The annual interest accruals in the PPF account will depend upon the rate for that particular year, the finance ministry said.
“The rate of interest on small savings schemes will be aligned every year with rates of government securities of similar maturity ... the rates are fixed and not floating so far as individual investments except PPF are concerned,” it said, while responding to media reports that interest rates on all small savings schemes are floating.
With effect from 1 December 2011, the government has increased interest rates on PPF to 8.6% from 8% now, and also raised ceiling on annual contributions to the fund to Rs1 lakh from Rs70,000.
Interest rates on savings account in post offices also rose to 4% from 3.5%. Similarly, interest rates on deposits of other maturities too were raised from December.
“The rate prevailing at the time of investments will remain fixed and unchanged till the maturity of the investment. Any revisions in interest rates in subsequent years will only be applicable to the investments made in the relevant period,” it said.
The sale of ‘Kisan Vikas Patras’ (KVP) has also been discontinued from 30 November 2011. There was an apprehension about KVP, which was kind of a bearer instrument, that it was used for money laundering.
In addition, the maturity period of monthly investment schemes (MIS) and national savings certificates has been reduced from six years to five years.
MIS earns an interest of 8.2% but accounts opened on/after 1 December 2011 would not be entitled for bonus.
Besides, loans taken from PPFs would attract an interest of 2% per annum from 1 December 2011.
The government has done away with commission paid to the agents for opening PPF accounts and Senior Citizens Savings Schemes, while the agents’ commission for Mahila Pradhan Kshetriya Bachat Yojana (MPKBY) has been fixed at 4%. Besides, agency commission for all other schemes has been halved to 0.5%.
With bank deposits giving over 9% return, people are now preferring parking funds in banks and hence there has been a net outflow from the small savings schemes, which are administered by the National Small Savings Fund (NSSF).
The Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the proposal by approving amendments to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act, 1986, that aims to expand the ambit of mandatory hallmarking to include more products, including gold
New Delhi: To protect consumers from unscrupulous jewellers, the government on Wednesday approved a proposal making hallmarking of gold mandatory, reports PTI.
The hallmarking of gold, which is voluntary in nature at present, is a purity certification of the precious metal. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), under the consumer affairs ministry, is the administrative authority of hallmarking.
The Cabinet, headed by prime minister Manmohan Singh, cleared the proposal by approving amendments to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act, 1986, that aims to expand the ambit of mandatory hallmarking to include more products, including gold, sources said.
The BIS (Amendment) Bill, will empower the government to bring in compulsory certification regime any article and/or process that it considers necessary from the point of view of health, safety, environment and prevention of deceptive practice, they said.
At present, about 77 items, including cement, mineral water and milk products, are certified through mandatory hallmarking under the BIS Act for conformity with expected quality levels.
The BIS hallmark, a mark of conformity widely accepted by the consumer, bestows the additional confidence to the consumer on the quality of products like gold jewellery.
Besides mandatory hallmarking, the amendments moved by the consumer affairs ministry also seek to introduce registration of relevant standards as an alternative mechanism to the compulsory certification regime to facilitate growth of sunrise sectors like IT and biotechnology and protect consumers from spurious and substandard imports.
It also aims to strengthen the penal provision for better and effective compliance with the provision of BIS Act.
The investment plan, which will help boost falling output in the Krishna-Godavari Basin KG-D6 block, has been pending with the authorities for two years and it took some prodding from top government functionaries for it to be cleared
New Delhi: The government on Tuesday approved Reliance Industries’ (RIL) $1.529 billion investment plan for developing four satellite fields in the flagging KG-D6 block after sitting on the proposal for months, reports PTI.
The investment plan, which will help boost falling output in the Krishna-Godavari Basin KG-D6 block, has been pending with the authorities for two years and it took some prodding from top government functionaries for it to be cleared.
The KG-D6 block oversight committee, which includes officials from the oil ministry and its technical arm, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), met for the third time in three months on Tuesday to finally approve the proposal, sources privy to deliberations at the so-called Management Committee (MC) meeting said.
The MC approval, which is the final approval an operator needs before beginning work, however, puts a cap on the cost of developing the four fields that surround the currently producing Dhirubhai-1 and 3 (D-1 & D-3) fields in the KG-D6 block.
The cost cannot vary by more than 15%, they said, adding that the investment proposal was signed by the three partners in the block—RIL, UK’s BP Plc and Niko Resources of Canada—and the DGH representative, while the oil ministry official is likely to sign it in the next couple of days.
The MC had at its two previous meetings in November and December refused to approve the field development plan (FDP) for the Dhirubhai-2, 6, 19 and 22 (D-2, D-6, D-19 and D-22) fields after the government representative raised certain objections.
Sources said BP chief executive Bob Dudley last month wrote to oil minister S Jaipal Reddy stressing on the need for early approvals for the plan, without which one full year would be lost as the fair weather window in the Bay of Bengal only permits field developmental work between December and March.
The four fields can produce 10 million cubic metres of gas per day by 2016, which will help shore up output from the block, which has seen a 35% decline in production in the past 15 months.
The MC had in its last meeting on 2nd December refused to approve the investment plan, saying the proposal made in December 2009 was based on the prices of that year and new rates needed to be worked out at the current prices.
Sources said RIL and its partners, UK’s BP Plc and Niko Resources of Canada, felt reworking the rates would require several months and would lead to the loss of the weather window.
As a compromise, RIL agreed to cap spending on the four fields at $1.529 billion, plus or minus 15%.