Within an hour of the PMO’s order, the Finance Ministry withdrew its decision and it was decided to continue the old interest rates.
In the last three days, information is coming one by one about the Small Savings Scheme. According to the Business Standard report, on the morning of April 1, a directive was issued from the Prime Minister’s Office that the Finance Ministry withdraw the decision to cut the interest rate on small savings schemes. Within an hour of the PMO’s order, the Finance Ministry withdrew its decision and it was decided to continue the old interest rates.
Earlier on the evening of 31 March, the Finance Ministry decided to cut the interest rate for small savings schemes for the June quarter. When the decision was taken on April 1, the report came that this has been done especially keeping the Bengal Assembly elections in mind. Actually, West Bengal is number one in terms of small savings. Assembly elections are going on there and BJP has high hopes from this election. Opposition parties have also raised this issue a lot.
Business Standard quoted a trusted government source as saying that the decision to cut interest rates had become serious. Voting for the second phase took place in Bengal on 1 April. In such a situation, such a big decision had become a serious matter on the night before that. Some kind of decision regarding interest rate is taken with the consultation of many important officials of the Ministry of Finance, Department of Post and Reserve Bank. The final seal is taken by the Finance Ministry on the decision they make together, after which the notification is issued.
West Bengal’s contribution to small savings schemes such as National Savings Paper (NSC) and Provident Fund (PPF) is around Rs 90,000 crore, which is the highest among all states and union territories. West Bengal accounts for about 15 per cent of the total contribution of states and union territories in these schemes. Uttar Pradesh, the country’s largest state in terms of population, is second in these schemes with a contribution of Rs 69,660.70 crore. According to the data collected by the National Savings Institute under the Ministry of Finance in 2017-18, the contribution of all states and union territories in these schemes is Rs 5.96 lakh crore.
According to the data of National Savings Institute, West Bengal is in the forefront of collection in small savings schemes. For the last few years, the contribution of the state in these schemes has remained between 12 and 15 per cent. The National Savings Institute comes under the Department of Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Finance. Among other states where elections are going on, Assam has a share of Rs 9,446.37 crore in Small Savings Schemes, Rs 14,763.01 crore in Kerala, Rs 1,082.40 crore in Puducherry and Rs 28,598.18 crore in Tamil Nadu.