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Ref. No. KLI/22-23/E-BB/492
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Modern women emphasize more on their financial planning to lead an independent life. There are numerous strategies available for women to achieve their objectives with a high likelihood of success. To learn all about them, keep reading.
Indian women have come a long way from when they were financially dependent on men. Today they take charge of their finances and make their own decisions. To encourage and motivate them, several government initiatives are especially focused on improving the financial independence of women. And even though many working and self-employed women are aware of such benefits and financial opportunities, there are several other women who are completely unaware of this advantage.
Some of the beneficial government schemes for women in India are
Time and again, the Indian government has taken significant steps to increase awareness amongst women regarding advantageous financial women empowerment schemes. However, not all efforts have been fruitful, and most women are still unaware of their financial benefits.
Here is a comprehensive list of financial benefits and govt schemes for women in India:
Apart from offering the regular savings bank account feature, banks allow women to secure their funds in specially-designed savings accounts that categorically fulfill the financial and investment needs of Indian women today and host competitive features as per modern lifestyle expectations.
Banks further offer significant discounts, cashback rewards, free gifts, etc., for women who use their savings bank account credit or debit card to shop. The offer is also applicable for spending on food, wellness, entertainment, etc.
Apart from these advantages, the women’s special savings bank accounts offer discounted health packages or discounts on services such as medical tests and more. To support women financially, the government also permits women bank account holders to open a ‘Junior Account’ for their children.
Working women can save money in these accounts to cover the education expenses of their children. It is noteworthy that there is no monthly minimum balance requirement if the account is associated with a Recurring Deposit (RD) or a Systematic Investment Plan (SIP).
To encourage women to buy insurance plans, the insurer offers special life and health insurance plans. Moreover, most insurance providers charge a lower premium on life and health insurance coverage for women than their male counterparts.
This is also because, as per reports, women have a higher life expectancy rate than men. This reduces the risk of a claim on the part of a women policyholder. Thus, insurers allow them higher sums assured at much lower premiums than men, in general.
On average, women are given a three-year setback on premium charges as compared to men. For example, the life insurance premium for a 40-year-old female and a 37-year-old male would likely be the same. Term plans provide best-in-class insurance benefits at economical premiums with special premium rates for women, enabling them to become more financially independent.
That said, specifically in the case of health insurance, women do not get any advantage on premiums since the premiums are based on the policyholder’s health, family history, age, and other individualistic factors. So, in the same case of a 40-year-old woman and a 37-year-old male, the premiums for the latter health insurance policy will be lower owing to age.
Many leading banks provide home loans to women at lower rate interest. In some cases of joint home loans, the banks also offer discounted loan rates if the woman is the first applicant for the specific loan.
Typically, the difference in the rate of interest is nearly 0.05%. In addition, women also get discounted car loans from banks as compared to their male counterparts. The net interest savings across the period of the loan allow women to save higher, provided the rate of interest remains the same throughout the loan tenure.
This is even more beneficial when families take a large loan via a woman applicant. Apart from low-interest rates, some banks also waive any loan processing charges for women.
If the property is in the name of a woman, some states in India offer financial benefits to women in the form of a lower stamp and transfer duty in case of sale deeds, conveyance deeds, and gift deeds. A few states also completely exempt the stamp and transfer duty on real estate transactions for women.
For instance, in Delhi, the stamp duty charge for a sale deed where a woman is a property buyer is 4%. Whereas the stamp duty for a man is 6%. Similarly, the fee for women is lower than for men regarding conveyance and gift deeds. Further, some municipal corporations also let go of the property tax if the property is in the name of a woman
The government has also launched several government schemes for women entrepreneurs. For example, the Bhartiya Mahila Bank (BMB) business loan scheme is for women who wish to start their own businesses. The scheme provides loans up to ₹20 crores for women-owned manufacturing companies at an interest rate of 10.15%. The scheme also provides collateral-free loans up to ₹1 crore for micro and small enterprises.
Another government-backed monetary initiative for women is the Annapurna Scheme. The program aims to financially support women in establishing a food catering business. The program grants loan up to ₹50,000 to allow women to buy utensils, kitchen tools, and other equipment for the business. The interest rate varies per the market standard and the concerned bank. The loan amount is to be paid back in three years.
Apart from these two popular schemes, there are other monetary schemes launched by the government to promote women entrepreneurs in the country.
TREAD aims to economically empower women by offering them credit, training, development, and counseling support in the space of products, services, trades, etc.
The government has also helped women by launching Working Women Hostels to provide a safe and convenient living space for working women and their families. Women get accommodation, along with daycare facilities for their children.
These hostels are set up across urban, semi-urban, and rural areas. However, these hostels are only available for women whose monthly income does not exceed ₹50,000 per month in urban areas and ₹35,000 per month in other areas.
This government-sponsored program was launched in 2017 to financially empower women by providing skill development support, digital literacy, employment, and more. Each Shakti Kendra (at national, state, district, and block levels) offers an interface for rural women to avail benefits via training and capacity building.
Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY) is a government-sponsored scheme launched to benefit the girl child and assure a brighter future for her. Parents or legal guardians of a girl child under ten years of age can invest in SSY. The scheme has a fixed tenure of 21 years and offers an average rate of return between 8% and 9%. Deposits can be made once every month or on an annual basis for 15 years from the date of the SSY account opening.
The minimum permissible tax-saving investment is ₹1000, while the maximum is ₹1.5 lakhs. The account will be managed after 18 years of age. According to the Income Tax Act, investments in SSY up to ₹1.5 lakhs are eligible for tax savings under Section 80C. Further, the interest income and maturity proceeds of SSY are also tax-free. But the amount from the SSY account can be withdrawn only after the girl is 18 years old, subject to some specific terms.
That said, in some cases, partial withdrawal is allowed for the purpose of higher education of the girl child. This govt. Scheme for women is available with all PSU banks, India Post Office, and some reliable private sector banks.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development governs this program. Started in 2016, Mahila-E-Haat is a bilingual marketing platform that uses technology to enable budding women entrepreneurs, self-help groups, NGOs, and others to promote their products and services.
The Indian government offers a number of programs to assist women who want to launch a business. One of them, the Annapurna plan, offers ₹50,000 to start a catering company. Women can repay the loan within three years under one of the central government’s lending programs. The program can be chosen by those who desire to launch a new business to obtain additional benefits.
Stree Shakti provides a personal loan to help women expand their businesses. Women must own 50% of the business to qualify for this loan, and they are eligible for loans up to ₹50 lakhs under this program. It makes it simple for women to run a firm, boosting income flow.
The program is suitable for Indian women who want to develop small businesses and take care of their requirements. The scheme doesn’t demand collateral for loans up to ₹20 lakhs. After receiving a loan under this program to assist in starting a business or firm appropriately, the repayment period is 5 to 7 years.
Women in India are progressing in all spheres. By utilizing several of the aforementioned government programs and financial perks, it is now about time that women achieved complete financial independence. These programs and efforts support and encourage female entrepreneurs, help women secure their lives, families, and health, and eventually help them reach their financial goals.
Due to their tax exemption benefits, most of these programs also enable women to save more money on taxes. Even though India needs to take more critical measures to empower the country’s women, such initiatives prove there is hope for a better tomorrow for women.
Ref. No. KLI/22-23/E-BB/999
Ref. No. KLI/22-23/E-BB/490