Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has set up a committee under Reserve Bank Deputy Governor H R Khan to take stock of unclaimed deposits in the Public Provident Fund (PPF) and post office saving schemes and suggest how these funds can be utilised for the benefit of senior citizens.
The committee will also suggest whether the unclaimed deposits should come to the government or be kept in a separate account. The committee members include secretary (Department of Posts); joint secretary (law ministry and Budget division of finance ministry); State Bank of India deputy managing director; and executive director of Punjab National Bank, a notification said.
The panel would suggest a procedure to bring unclaimed deposits to a common pool. The committee will submit its report by December 31.
In his Budget speech, Jaitley had said a large amount of money was lying unclaimed with PPF and post office saving schemes. “These are mostly out of investments belonging to senior citizens which, on their demise, remain unclaimed for want of relevant payment instructions. I propose to set up a committee to examine and recommend how this amount can be used to protect and further financial interests of senior citizens.”
Although there is no official estimate to ascertain the unclaimed amounts in PPF and small saving schemes, it is believed the amount could run into hundreds of crores. In the postal department, an account is declared silent or inoperative when there is no transaction for three years.
A PPF is a 15-year investment scheme, which offers tax exemption. The minimum annual investment in PPF is Rs 500.
The Budget proposed raising the upper limit of annual investment in PPF by Rs 50,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh.