The Ministry of Finance has notified the rules pertaining to establishment of Senior Citizens Welfare Fund, clearing the way for transfer of unclaimed deposits in small savings schemes including Post Office Savings Accounts, Public Provident Fund and Employees’ Provident Fund to the newly created Fund within one year.
The fund shall be utilised for such schemes for the promotion of the welfare of Senior citizens in line with the National Policy on Older Persons and the National Policy on Senior Citizens. In a notification dated March 18, the finance ministry has stated the Fund shall be an interest bearing account, administered by a Committee consisting of nine members.
The committee will be headed by Secretary in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment who shall be the ex-officio Chairperson along with officials from Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Labour and Employment among others.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech last year had proposed the creation of Senior Citizens Welfare Fund saying, “there are unclaimed deposits of about Rs 3,000 crore in the PPF, and approximately Rs 6,000 crore in the EPF corpus.
“I have proposed the creation of a Senior Citizen Welfare Fund, in the Finance Bill, for appropriation of these amounts to a corpus which will be used to subsidize the premiums of vulnerable groups such as old age pensioners, BPL card-holders, small and marginal farmers and others.”
Every institution which has the unclaimed deposits in their small savings accounts shall prepare list of unclaimed deposits in the accounts and notify to the public. “The Institution shall identify the unclaimed amounts on annual basis and make transfers to the Fund on or before the 1st day of March, each year. The transfers by the Institutions shall be made on a net basis, namely, the unclaimed deposits minus the claims accepted in accordance with the law for the time being in force, of the accounts whose balances have already been transferred to the Fund,” the notification said.
The nodal ninistry for the administration of the Fund shall be the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The rate of interest for the money lying in the Fund shall be determined and notified by the Central Government in the Ministry of Finance on an annual basis, the notification said.