For all the inequities suffered by women in the past, it’s not a bad time to be one today. Perhaps in an attempt to correct the skew arising from gender-based financial discrimination, there are several discounts and schemes by Central and state governments for women and girls. Be it the discounted insurance schemes or Sebi’s mandate for the top 1,000 listed companies to have at least one independent woman director on board, there’s something for everyone. Find out what works for you.
1. Insurance discounts & lower premiums
Several life and health insurers offer women-specific plans, be it for critical illnesses or term plans. These include the HDFC Life Smart Woman Plan, Tata AIG’s Wellsurance Woman policy, and Bajaj Allianz’s Women-specific Critical Illness plan, among others. Others offer discounted premium rates for women and girl children. For instance, the New India Asha Kiran health plan offers a 50% discount on premium for girl children, while Reliance Health Gain policy offers a 5% discount to women buyers or girl children. Besides, there are family floater plans that offer lower premium rates for enrolling women members in the plan.
2. Lower loan rates
Women borrowers taking loans from banks or NBFCs get a preferential interest rate. For home loans, this is typically 0.05% or 5 basis points lower than the normal rate. For instance, if the SBI is offering home loans at 7% per annum, a woman borrower will be given this loan at 6.95%. This may seem like a small amount, but it greatly reduces the EMI or the tenure of loan.
3. Save on stamp duty
To encourage women to own property, various states in the country offer a concessional stamp duty to women if the house is registered in their name. The stamp duty payable at the time of registration of property if it is acquired by way of sales deed, conveyance deed or gift deed can vary from 0.5-3% of the value of property in different states. For instance, while the stamp duty for men in Delhi is 6%, that for women is 4%; in Haryana, it is 8% for men in urban areas and 6% for women. This difference means that a woman in Delhi can save `2 lakh more on registering a house worth Rs 1 crore.
4. Savings bank accounts
Banks offer women specially designed savings accounts with more features, benefits and rewards. For instance, Axis Bank’s Women’s Savings Account offers benefits like low opening deposit, free cheque books, low average monthly balances, and personal accident insurance covers. Similarly, ICICI Bank’s Advantage Woman Savings Account includes offers on skill-building courses like IT certifications, music lessons and personality development, besides various discounts like 50% off on locker rental for the first year.
5. Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana
If you want to save for the education and marriage of your girl child, you can opt for this government-backed small saving scheme. It can be opened for girls below 10 years of age and the account can be operational till they are 21 years old or marry after the age of 18. The rates are declared by the government every quarter and the rates for April-June quarter are 7.6% per annum. You can start with as low as Rs 250 and go up to Rs 1.5 lakh in a financial year.