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The next sovereign

If you haven’t purchased sovereign gold bonds yet, do not fret. The next issue of the bonds opens on April 24 and you can apply till April 28. The bond will be issued on May 12. The Finance Ministry has said that the bonds will be issued at ₹50 per gm less than the nominal value.

You can buy these bonds through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India, designated post offices and recognised stock exchanges. You can buy up to 500 gm each year. The coupon on the bond remains the same — 2.50 per cent per annum, payable semi-annually on the face value. The tenure of the bond is eight years, with exit option from the fifth year, to be exercised on the interest payment dates.

Lower premiums for trucks

Following the protests of truckers across the country, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India reduced premium rates of motor third-party insurance last week for some categories of vehicles overriding the earlier order dated March 28, 2017.

In the revised rates, there is significant reduction for goods-carrying vehicles — public carriers (other than three-wheelers). The premium for different categories of vehicles has come down from ₹21,511-36,120 (March 28) to ₹19,667-33,024 now. Premium has also been reduced for private cars exceeding 1,000 cc (from ₹3,132 to ₹2,863) and those exceeding 1,500 cc (from ₹8,630 to ₹7,890), agricultural tractors, special types of vehicles and two-wheelers (exceeding 150 cc).

Higher interest rate for EPF

The Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said on Thursday that the Finance Ministry has approved recommendations of EPFO trustees of 8.65 per cent interest rate on employees’ provident fund for 2016-17. The Bill to amend the Payment of Gratuity Act to double the ceiling of tax-free gratuity to ₹20 lakh, is also likely to be placed before the Union Cabinet soon.

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