Maturity PeriodUpon retirementUpon retirementAfter 60 or 70 years of age
Interest offeredDecided by Govt; 8.15% in FY22-23Decided by Ministry of Finance, 7.1% in Q1 FY 23-24Ranges from 12%-14% depending upon fund’s performance
Safety of InvestmentGovernment-backed, safeGovernment-backed, safeRelatively Safe investments, depending upon market fluctuations
EligibilityAll Indian employeesAll Indian citizens, except NRIsAny individual
Contribution12% of employee’s basic and dearness by employee and employer, eachAny amount between Rs.500 and Rs.1.5 LakhMinimum Rs.6000; no maximum limit
Tax BenefitsTax-free up to Rs. 1.5 LakhTax-free up to Rs. 1.5 LakhTax-free up to Rs. 1.5 Lakh
Pre-withdrawal optionsPartial withdrawals, under specific conditions before 5 years subject to TDS deductionPartial withdrawals under specific conditions after completion of 5 or 7 yearsOnly 20% of the total amount before retirement

Understanding Employee Provident Fund

Introduced under the Employee’s Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Act, 1952, the saving scheme can be referred to the collection of funds by the employee and the employer at regular intervals for the benefit of the employee’s post-retirement needs.

• Under the EPF scheme, both the employee and the employer submit 12% of the employee’s basic and dearness allowance to the employee’s PF account, every month
• While the employee contributes a total of 12% to his/her EPF account, the employer contributes 8.33% towards employee’s EPS (Employee Pension Scheme) and the remaining 3.67% towards EPF
• It must be noted that throughout the lifetime of an employee, he must have only one PF account. Upon changing of jobs, the employee must transfer his PF account from the previous employer to his current one.

• EPF aims at encouraging the idea of savings among the salaried employees monthly.
• The Employee Provident Fund Office (EPFO) offers a fixed level of interest on the amount in the PF account of an employee. The current EPF interest rate is 8.15% p.a.
• The amount of interest to be received on EPF amount, along with the principal amount collected is entirely tax-free.
• Additionally, in case of unfortunate death of the account holder, the accrued amount can also be withdrawn by his nominee or legal heir.
• Employees can easily track their EPF balance, and access their EPF account on the government backed EPF portal using the UAN provided by the employer.

The employee can withdraw his EPF amount only after retirement. However, under certain emergencies (such as medical illness, payment of house loan, child’s marriage, child’s education, etc.), EPFO allows partial withdrawals from the PF account by the employee. You can also withdraw your EPF amount only if you have not received wages for 2 months.

Understanding Public Provident Fund

A Public Provident Fund (PPF) is a tax-free savings scheme offered by the government of India. Since this is a government-backed scheme, PPF is considered one of the safest modes of investment accounting for its safety and delivery of fixed returns.

• An individual must be an Indian citizen to be eligible to invest in PPF and can open his account at any post office, nationalized bank, or any major private bank
• After completing 5 years of investment in a PPF account, individuals are allowed to make partial withdrawals under certain specific circumstances.

• Under a PPF account, the interest is set for every quarter individually and is paid by the government. The interest for Q1 FY 2023-24 is set at 7.1%
• Investments made in a PPF account are entirely free of risk, as the returns are fixed and are paid by the government
• Under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, PPF investments offer a tax deduction of Rs.1.5Lakh in a budget year
• Moreover, PPF account holders are also eligible for a loan against the amount gathered in their PPF account from 3rd year to 6th year of investing.

• The PPF account has a lock-in period of 15 years, which implies that an employee is not eligible to withdraw the amount in his PPF account before the said period.
• Investors can make only up to 12 deposits a year in one PPF account and not more.
• Employees can contribute no more than Rs.1.5 Lakh to a PPF account in one budget year. The minimum amount to be contributed is Rs.500.
• Partial withdrawals depend on the bank that you have your account with. Some banks allow withdrawals after the 5th fiscal year and others after the 7th fiscal year.

Understanding National Pension System

Earlier known as National Pension Scheme, NPS or National Pension Scheme is a pension system aiming to invest the contributions of its subscribers into various market-linked instruments such as equities and debts of various organizations.

• National Pension System is regulated and administered by the Pension Fund Regulatory Authority of India (PFRDA).
• Any Indian citizen between the ages of 18-60 is eligible to open a NPS account.
• The contributions to NPS can be invested in up to 4 classes, equities, corporate bonds, government bonds, and alternative assets through various pension funds.
• Each pension funds deliver individual returns depending upon its performance.

• Account holders are eligible to make partial withdrawals after 3 years of opening the account that account holders can make.
• NPS subscribers can claim tax benefits of up to Rs. 1.5 Lakh under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act.

• There is no fixed interest rate offered on the investments under this scheme. However, the interest offered on the investment varies from 12%-14%.
• The final pension amount given to the investor depends upon the performance and returns offered by the funds.
• The funds invested in an NPS can be withdrawn only after the age of 60. However, account holders can choose to extend the maturity period till the age of 70.
• Individuals can withdraw an amount equal to only 25% of the contributions made for specific purposes such as buying of a house, child’s education, or any illness.

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