The government provides a total of nine small savings schemes currently. These financial instruments provide a variety of features and guaranteed returns, including the 15-year Public Provident Fund (PPF), the Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) certificate scheme, the National Savings Certificates scheme (NSC), the Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS) and the Sukanya Samriddhi scheme. These five provide the highest returns among the small savings schemes. Interest rates applicable to these small savings schemes are reviewed every quarter.
Here are key features of these five small savings schemes, that offer annual returns to the tune of 6.8-7.6 per cent in the current quarter, which ends on December 31:
Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS)
Current Interest Rate: 7.40%
Individuals above 60 years of age can open this account, to invest between Rs 1,000 and Rs 15 lakh.
Public Provident Fund Account (PPF)
Current Interest Rate: 7.10%
This is a popular savings instrument, to invest between Rs 500 and Rs 1.5 lakh in a financial year.
A deposits can be made in lump-sum, or in instalments.
Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP)
Current Interest Rate: 6.90%
Sukanya Samriddhi Account
Current Interest Rate: 7.60%
The Sukanya Samriddhi scheme allows investment of between Rs 250 and Rs 1.5 lakh in a financial year. The account can be opened by a guardian in favour of a girl child below 10 years of age.
National Savings Certificates (NSC)
Current Interest Rate: 6.80%
This is a certificate-based savings scheme, in which investment of Rs 1,000 grows to Rs 1,389.49 in five years. An investment of minimum Rs 1,000 is allowed in the NSC scheme, with no upper limit.