National Savings Scheme (NSS)

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by Angel One
A National Savings Scheme (NSS) is a savings program supported by the government and administered by financial institutions.

A National Savings Scheme (NSS) is a savings program supported by the government and usually administered by authorised financial institutions. The primary objective of these financial instruments is to encourage people to save money and enable them to accumulate a significant amount of wealth through modest contributions while minimising risk. Additionally, the returns on these schemes are regularly adjusted, but their government backing ensures they remain a secure investment choice.

Objectives of the National Savings Scheme

The objectives of India’s National Savings Scheme (NSS) include:

  1. Encouraging Savings: One of the core benefits of NSS is that it promotes a culture of saving among Indian citizens by offering attractive investment opportunities with reasonable returns.
  2. Financial Inclusion: NSS initiatives aim to reach a broad spectrum of the population, including those in rural and remote areas, to ensure that even marginalised individuals have access to safe and secure savings options.
  3. Mobilising Funds: The NSS helps the government raise funds for various development projects and welfare programs by attracting investments from individuals across the country.
  4. Low-Risk Investments: NSS options are designed to provide a low-risk investment avenue for savers, ensuring the safety of their hard-earned money.
  5. Long-Term Wealth Creation: NSS encourages individuals to accumulate wealth over time through disciplined savings, helping them meet future financial goals and contingencies.
  6. Rate of Return: NSS schemes provide competitive interest rates, making them an attractive option for conservative investors seeking stable returns.
  7. Tax Benefits: Some NSS options offer tax benefits, such as deductions on contributions under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, making them tax-efficient investment choices.

Types of National Savings Scheme 2023

National Savings Schemes (NSS) in India are renowned for their safety, guaranteed returns backed by the government, and potential tax advantages. These schemes are categorised based on the target beneficiaries, such as the general public, senior citizens, or girl children, each having predefined eligibility criteria and distinct features with associated tax benefits. They include:

1. Regular NSS Schemes 

  1. Post Office Savings Account: This is akin to a savings account with the Post Office rather than a traditional bank. Investors can enjoy tax benefits of up to ₹1,000 annually on their contributions, and this scheme has no fixed maturity period.
  2. National Savings Recurring Deposit Account: Under this National Savings Scheme, individuals must deposit a set monthly amount for a minimum of five years (extendable up to ten years). The unique feature is that there’s no upper limit on the investment, and you can start with as little as ₹100.
  3. National Savings Time Deposit Account: This National Savings Scheme is similar to fixed deposits in banks, offered by the Post Office. It requires a minimum deposit of ₹1,000 with no upper cap. The maturity duration ranges from 1 to 5 years, and there are tax benefits available under Section 80C for the 5-year deposit.
  4. National Savings (Monthly Income Account) Scheme: This is an alternative savings account that generates a fixed income over a 5-year tenure. The government determines the annual interest rate, and you can invest from ₹1,500 to ₹4.5 lakh in an individual account or up to ₹9 lakh in a joint account. Interest is paid monthly, and you can close the account prematurely after one year.
  5. Public Provident Fund (PPF): PPF is a tax-free small National Savings Scheme scheme that requires opening an account at a financial institution or post office. You can invest between ₹500 and ₹1.5 lakhs annually, with a tenure of 15 to 20 years. Loans can be availed against the deposits between the 3rd and 5th year.
  6. Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP): Also known as the KVP scheme, it helps individuals generate substantial earnings over a variable maturity period. It was originally designed to instil financial discipline in farmers but is available to Indian citizens aged 18 and above. It has a 30-month lock-in period and can be used as collateral for loans.
  7. National Savings Certificate (VIII issue): NSC is a fixed-income investment open to individuals or joint account holders at any post office. There’s no maximum investment limit, and it starts with a minimum of ₹1,000. It matures in 5 years and can be used as collateral for loans. Tax rebates are available under Section 80C.

2. For Senior Citizens 

  1. Senior Citizens Savings Scheme (SCSS): This National Savings Scheme offers high returns for post-retirement financial independence. Anyone over 60 can invest for up to 5 years, with deposits ranging from ₹1,000 to ₹15 lakhs. Interest is paid quarterly, and there’s a tax rebate under Section 80C.
  2. Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY): This scheme provides monthly pensions to senior citizens above 60 for a 10-year tenure. There’s a 30-day lock-in period and nominal stamp charges. It offers no tax benefits.

3. For Girl Child

  1. Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana: This National Savings Scheme is for girls under ten years old, allowing account opening with just ₹250. The annual contribution is capped at ₹1.5 lakhs, and parents or guardians can operate the account for 21 years. Partial withdrawals are possible after the girl turns 18 for higher education or after the 10th standard, whichever is earlier.


In conclusion, National Savings Schemes (NSS) in India offer a diverse range of secure and tax-efficient investment options, catering to the financial needs and goals of various segments of the population, and promoting a culture of savings and financial security.


What is the eligibility criteria for opening an NSS account in India?

The eligibility criteria for opening an NSS account can vary depending on the specific scheme. However, in general, most NSS schemes are open to Indian citizens, and some may have age restrictions or other specific requirements. For example, the Senior Citizens Savings Scheme (SCSS) is designed for individuals above the age of 60, while schemes like the Public Provident Fund (PPF) are available to all Indian residents.

Are NSS investments taxable, and do they offer any tax benefits?

Yes, some NSS schemes offer tax benefits to investors. For example, contributions to schemes like the PPF and National Savings Certificate (NSC) are eligible for deductions under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, which can reduce your taxable income. It’s important to evaluate the tax benefits linked to your scheme because the tax treatment might differ from one scheme to the next.

Can I prematurely close an NSS account before the maturity period?

Yes, some NSS schemes allow premature closure under certain conditions. For instance, the National Savings (Monthly Income Account) Scheme can be closed after one year of account opening. However, the terms and conditions for premature closure may differ for each scheme.

Is there a maximum limit on the amount I can invest in NSS schemes?

Most NSS schemes do not have an upper limit on the investment amount, allowing you to invest as much as you want. However, some schemes may have minimum deposit requirements, and others, like the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana for girl children, have an annual contribution cap (e.g., ₹1.5 lakhs per year).

Can I use my NSS investments as collateral for loans?

Yes, several NSS schemes, such as Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) and National Savings Certificate (NSC), allow you to use your investments as collateral to secure loans from financial institutions. However, the availability of this feature and the terms may vary depending on the scheme and the lending institution’s policies.