NEW DELHI: Nearly 16 years after the ‘small-savings’ schemeIndira Vikas Patra
was discontinued, over Rs 800 crore is lying unclaimed with the government as “outstanding” amount, anRTI
query to the department of posts has revealed.
In answer to an RTI plea by Gurgaon resident Aseem Takyar, the department of posts said while information on the “unclaimed amount” was not available with the department, it had information on the progressive net balance as on March 31, 2017. This amount was Rs 884.75 crore.
Indira Vikas Patra was launched in 1986, offering a high interest rate.
It offered certificates in the denominations of Rs 200, Rs 500, Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 at half their face value, which the investors could buy and later exchange for the face value of the document after a specified period. The advantage with the scheme was that the depositor got the money in lump sum along with accumulated interests (for all the years) at the end of maturity period. This scheme was discontinued in 2001 amid criticism that it was aiding in parking of black money anonymously.
Interestingly though, the annual statement provided by the department of posts on the state-wise net balance shows that around Rs 4.8 crore had been debited from the balance sheet in the financial year 2016-17. While the opening net balance was Rs 889.54 crore, the closing net balance was Rs 884.75 crore.
According to Takyar, the large amount of unclaimed money implied that there were many people who hadn’t asked for their money for one reason or another.
Of course, it is not the only savings instrument where a huge amount of money is lying unclaimed. According to the data available, more than Rs 27,000 crore was lying unclaimed in the Employees’ Provident Fund in 2015. Last year, the government had announced that funds lying unclaimed for more than seven years with the Employees’ Provident Fund, Public Provident Fund and other smallsavings schemes would be utilised to finance a senior citizens’ welfare fund.