The government has retained the 8% interest rate on the Public Provident Fund (PPF) for the January to March quarter. PPF offers deduction benefits up to Rs 1.5 lakh on deposits and tax exemption on interest and withdrawals. An investor can make annual contributions upto Rs 1.5 lakh. A subscriber can avail loan of 25% of the balance amount available. The loan has to be repaid within 36 months. PPF has maturity period of 15 years, extendable any number of times, and can be closed prematurely after completion of five years for specific reasons like higher education or medical treatment.