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Financial Benefits and Government Schemes Every Woman in India Should Know | Kotak Life

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  • 25th Mar 2021
  • 1,706
Financial Benefits and Government Schemes Every Woman in India Should Know | Kotak Life

Indian women have come a long way from the time they were financially dependent on men. Today, women are independent. They take charge of their finances and make their own financial decisions. In addition, several government initiatives are especially focussed on improving the financial independence of women. And, even though many working and self-employed women are aware of such benefits and other financial opportunities, there are several other women completely unaware of these benefits. Time and again, the Indian government has taken significant steps to increase awareness amongst women regarding advantageous financial schemes. However, not all efforts have been fruitful, and a majority of women still are not cognizant of their financial benefits.

Here is a comprehensive list of financial benefits and government schemes every woman in India should know:

1.Additional features for women savings bank accounts: : 1 Apart from offering the regular savings bank account feature, banks allow women to secure their funds in a specially-designed savings accounts. These savings accounts categorically fulfil the financial and investment needs of the Indian women today and host competitive features as per the 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 special savings bank accounts offer discounted health packages or discounts on services such as medical tests, and more. Further, to support women financially, the government also permits women bank account holders to open a ‘Junior Account’ for their child. Working women can save money in these accounts to cover the education expenses of their child. There is no monthly minimum balance requirement if the account is associated with a Recurring Deposit (RD) or a Systematic Investment Plan (SIP).

2. Low premiums in life insurance plans for women: : 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 cover for women as compared to their male counterparts. This is also because as per reports, women have a higher life expectancy rate than men. This reduces the risk of claim on the part of a women policyholder. Thus, insurers allow them higher sum 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 from Kotak Life provide best-in-class insurance benefits at economical premiums with special premiums 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 37-year-old male, the premiums for the latter health insurance policy will be lower owing to age.

3. Lesser interest on loans taken by women: 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 a first applicant for the specific loan. Averagely, 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 off any loan processing charges for women.

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4. Low stamp and transfer duty in real estate dealings for women: If the property 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 deed and gift deed. A few states also completely exempt the stamp and transfer duty on real estate transactions for women. For instance, in Delhi, the stamp duty charges for a sale deed where a woman is a buyer of the property is 4%. Whereas, the stamp duty for a man is 6%. Similarly, the fee for women is lower than men when it comes to 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

5. Beneficial monetary schemes for women entrepreneurs: The government has also launched several schemes for women entrepreneurs. For example, the Bhartiya Mahila Bank (BMB) business loan scheme is for women who wish to start their own business. The scheme provides loans up to Rs. 20 crores for women-owned manufacturing companies at an interest rate of 10.15%. The scheme also provides collateral-free loans up to Rs. 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 loans up to Rs. 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 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. Some of the most popular ones include Cent Kalyani Scheme, Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme, Udyogini Scheme, Orient Mahila Vikas Yojana Scheme, Dena Shakti Scheme, Mudra Yojana Scheme for Women, Stree Shakti Package, etc.

6. TREAD (Trade-Related Entrepreneurship Assistance and Development) scheme: TREAD aims to economically empower women by offering them credit, training, development and counselling support in the space of products, services, trades, etc.

7. Working women hostel for economical accommodation for working women: 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 Rs 50,000 per month in urban areas, and Rs 35,000 per month in other areas.

8. Mahila Shakti Kendra for overall women development:: This program by the government 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.

9. Sukanya Samridhi Yojana to safeguard girl child’s future: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 Rs 1000, while the maximum is Rs. 1.5 lakhs. The account will be managed after 18 years of age. According to the Income Tax Act, investments in SSY up to Rs. 1.5 lakhs are eligible for tax saving 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 scheme is available with all PSU banks, India Post Office, and some reliable private sector banks.

10. Mahila-E-Haat for women entrepreneurs: This programme is governed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. 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.

Conclusion

Women in India are progressing in all spheres. Now, it is about time women gained complete financial independence by taking advantage of many of the above-mentioned government schemes and financial benefits. These schemes and initiatives encourage and aid women to start their own business, safeguard their lives, protect their families and their health, and ultimately achieve their financial goals. Besides, most of these schemes also help women save more on taxes, owing to their tax exemption advantages. Even though India needs to take more critical measures to empower the women of the country, such initiatives are proof that there is hope for a better tomorrow for women.

- A Consumer Education Initiative series by Kotak Life

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