Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi in a letter to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has suggested measures to alleviate the financial woes faced by senior citizens due to prevailing low-interest rates. She said that the Union budget offers the government the opportunity to resolve the senior citizens' concerns.
"The interest rates in small savings schemes such as Public Provident Fund (PPF), Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS), National Savings Certificate (NSC) and Post Office Savings Scheme have been falling. Such a fall in interest rates can affect the income and savings across the country, especially of senior citizens who depend on such schemes for their basic needs and survival," she said.
‘’Lowering of interest has made it difficult for senior citizens and retired employees to have sufficient income to run their households," she added.
She has urged the FM to provide a special rate of interest on bank fixed deposits keeping the concerns of senior citizens and retired people in mind. The cap on Post Office Savings Scheme and PPF should be removed so that they can get a steady and secured source of income keeping in mind the rising cost of living.
Chaturvedi argued that "Currently, interest rates are extremely low considering the high inflation. Interest in fixed deposits over the years has come down from 12% to 5%. Post offices savings have come down to around 7% with a cap of 15 lakhs on investment. In the case of PPF, it has a cap of 1.5 lakh only annually. Further, all of these barring PPF are taxable.
"The lower interest rate leaves them with a lower retirement fund and regular income. The pandemic also has put a severe strain on the pockets of the public and disrupted the savings plan. Therefore, it becomes the duty of the government to ensure that the burden is not transmitted to the public, especially senior citizens which constitute about 140 million of the country's population," said Chaturvedi.