Pensions Sector Current Affairs - 2019
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Retirement fund body Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has launched View Pension Passbook Service for pensioners on Umang App. This facility was launched part of EPFO’s plan to go paperless by August this year and provide all services online. It will allow pensioners view their pension passbook on mobile phones with the help of Umang app. EPFO is already providing various e-services for its stakeholders through Umang.
UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) app aims to build common, unified platform and mobile app to facilitate single point of access for government services (centre, state and utility services) through mobile. It is multi-utility app and integrates with other core government services of Aadhaar, Rapid Assessment System, DigiLocker and Bharat Bill Payment System etc. and supports 13 Indian languages. It has been developed by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and National e-Governance Division (NeGD). It had won Best m-Government Service Award for Accessible Government Category at World Government Summit 2018.
Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO)
EPFO is a statutory body of Union Government that comes under the aegis of Ministry of Labour and Employment. It is headquartered in New Delhi. It is one of largest social security organisations in India in terms volume of financial transactions undertaken and number of covered beneficiaries. It administers compulsory contributory Provident Fund Scheme (1952), Pension Scheme (1995) and Insurance Scheme (1976).
The Union Finance Ministry has constituted a high-level committee to consolidate the regulation of pension products that is currently being done by three different watchdogs including insurance and stock market regulators.
The committee would have representatives from all financial sector regulators SEBI, IRDA, RBI and PFRDA. Its mandate will be to look into the issue of bringing these companies which are offering pension plans under different regulators under the purview of PFRDA.
- PFRDA: Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority.
- SEBI: Securities and Exchange Board of India.
- IRDA: Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India.
- RBI: Reserve Bank of India.
Why there is need to consolidate regulation of pension products?
The PFRDA Act says that PFRDA will be the pension regulator in the country. Currently, pension products floated by insurance companies and those sold by mutual funds are under purview of IRDA and SEBI respectively. Thus, there are cases of overlapping functions performed by financial sector regulators SEBI, IRDA, RBI and PFRDA in case of floating different pension products. For instance PFRDA is regulating all pension products in the country. However, insurers and mutual funds continue to sell pension products outside PFRDA’s watch. The PFRDA Act says that PFRDA will be the pension regulator in the country.
About Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA)
- PFRDA is a statuary pension regulatory authority established in 2003 under the PFRDA Act.
- It functions under the aegis of Union Ministry of Finance, Department of Financial Services.
- 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.