Pension Sector Current Affairs

Atal Pension Yojana subscriber base touches over 97 lakh: PFRDA

According to Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), the subscriber base of Atal Pension Yojana (APY) stood at 97.05 lakh at end of 2017-18 fiscal. It was lower than target of 1 crore set by pension regulator PFRDA.

The scheme saw addition of over 48.21 lakh subscribers in 2017-18. In 2016-17, total number of subscribers under APY reached 48.83 lakh with absolute incremental addition of 23.98 lakh accounts. In 2015-16, as many as 24.84 lakh subscribers were under APY fold.

Atal Pension Yojana (APY)

APY was launched in June 2015 with aim to provide affordable universal access to essential social security protection to unorganized work force of country, which makes major chunk of labour force (88%). It had replaced earlier government-backed pension Swavalamban scheme targeted at the unorganised sector.

It is available to all citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years (making minimum period of contribution by subscriber is 20 years). Under scheme, subscriber will receive minimum guaranteed pension of Rs. 1000 to Rs. 5000 per month, depending on his contribution, from age of 60 years. There is no exit to scheme before age of 60. In case of death of subscriber, spouse of subscriber is entitled for same amount of pension till his or her death.

Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA)

PFRDA is a statuary pension regulatory authority of India established under PFRDA Act, 2003 enacted by Parliament. It functions under the aegis of Ministry of Finance, Department of Financial Services. It was established in August 2003 and is headquartered in New Delhi.

PFRDA promotes old age income security by establishing, developing and regulating pension funds. It also protects interests of subscribers to schemes of pension funds and related matters. It is responsible for appointment of various intermediate agencies such as Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA), Custodian, Pension Fund Managers, NPS Trustee Bank, etc.

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PFRDA-CRISIL Report: India Ageing Gradually with Every 5th Person to be in 60s by 2050

As per the PFRDA-CRISIL report titled, Financial security for India’s elderly – The imperatives, India will begin ageing gradually and transform from ‘young’ to a ‘greying’ with every 5th Indian to be in 60s in contrast to every 12th person at present. By 2050, persons above the age of 60 would increase from the present 8.9% of the population to 19.4 %.  Also, by 2050, the population of people above 80 is likely to increase from 0.9% to 2.8%. As of 2015, almost 90% of the population was below the age of 60 years and the proportion of working age population stood at 44% .

Salient Highlights

The report has stated that the continuously declining inter-generational support within families necessitates the development of well-developed, self- sustaining pension system in the country. The report calls for including personal finance and retirement planning as a part of formal education curriculum as they promote the overall objective of financial literacy.

The promotion of pension system is vital as it helps in achieving twin objectives of providing income security to a vast number of ageing population. It also helps in garnering long-term funds for critical, growth-driving sectors of the economy as also the capital market. Hence, the report has called for sufficient incentivisation of intermediaries to increase penetration of pension system in the country.

In India, which is an under-penetrated financial market has most of the investors preferring to invest in fixed deposits (FDs), which account for more than 44% of the financial savings as opposed to the provident and pension funds which accounts to just 14% of the savings that are primarily fed by the organised section of the society.  The report has observed that in India, increasing the penetration of pension products via voluntary pension schemes is the biggest hurdle in developing the pension system.

Atal Pension Yojna

Atal Pension Yojana was launched in June 2015 to make the unorganized work force, which makes major chunk of India’s labour force (88%) join the National Pension Scheme. The subscribers of Atal Pension Yojana can receive a fixed monthly pension starting from Rs. 1000 up to Rs. 5000 after their retirement age of 60 until death. After the death of the subscriber, the spouse will be entitled to get exact same pension amount as the subscriber, until death of the spouse. The minimum age of joining APY is 18 years and maximum age is 40 years and thus minimum period of contribution by subscriber is 20 years.

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