The PPF interest rate is benchmarked to the 10-year government bond yield. The rate will change every year and could be around 8.5% for 2013-14.
Tenure: 15 years.
Suitable for: Risk-averse investors, self-employed professionals and those not covered by the EPF.
NSCS and Bank FDs
The interest on NSCs is also linked to the gilt yields, but once you invest, it remains fixed till maturity. Banks offer higher rates, but don't have sovereign guarantee
Returns: 8.6-8.9% for NSCs; 8.5-9% for FDs.
Tenure: 5 & 10 years (NSCs); 5 years (FDs)
Income: Fully taxable at normal rates.
Suitable for: Risk-averse investors looking for short-term options, senior citizens and those in low tax bracket.
Senior citizens' savings scheme
Best option for seniors. Banks offer the same rates, but this also gives regular income.
Returns: 9.3% per annum.
Tenure: 5 years.
Income: Fully taxable at normal rate.
Suitable for: Retirees looking for regular stream of income.