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Interest rate hike for small savings likely

By Our Special Correspondent

HUBLI, DEC. 20. The Minister for Science and Technology, Small Savings and Lotteries, Basavaraj Horatti, has said that he will take up with the Chief Minister and the Finance Minister the question of increasing the interest rate on small savings deposits.

Replying to questions from presspersons here today, Mr. Horatti said he is in favour of increasing the interest rate. With banks offering unattractive rates of interest, small investors in general and senior citizens in particular have turned their attention to small savings in post offices, which fetch a higher rate of interest than what banks offer. But the interest rate on small savings could be further increased as a service to senior citizens, he said.

Mr. Horatti said that 95 per cent of the small savings target for the current year, fixed at Rs. 2,600 crores, has been achieved and he has set a revised target of Rs. 3,000 crores by the end of the financial year. He is also looking into complaints that agents are not being paid their commission promptly and is thinking of introducing payment of commission by cheque to the agents.

He ruled out the reintroduction of the online lottery and said the working of the paper lotteries is being reviewed to make them more attractive.

Meeting

Mr. Horatti said it will be difficult at this stage to do away with the paper lotteries, which has been in existence for more than three decades.

He will soon convene a meeting of paper lottery agents to ensure that none of them deals in single-digit or double-digit lotteries.

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