EPFO May Lower Interest Rate on Provident Fund Deposits For 2017-18
New Delhi, October 17: Atal Pension Yojana, a government-backed pension scheme in India currently has over 69 lacs subscribers with a contribution of Rs 2690 crore. This means, all these active subscribers will be eligible for a guaranteed pension of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000. Chairman, PFRDA Hemant G Contractor on Monday emphasised the need for increasing the pension coverage in India at a recently concluded conference on Atal Pension Yojana. The conference organised by Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) in the national capital saw participation from all major banks, representatives from NPCI, SCHIL, SIDBI, Access Assist and some major MFIs.
The Chairman said a large section of the society still does not have access to pensions and this is a cause of concern for PFRDA and Government. He mentioned that on an average, a little less than 2% of the eligible population is covered under APY and hence a lot has to be done to provide people with a regular access to old age income. He also touched upon the issues of persistence in the APY accounts and asserted that the objective of the scheme is to provide pension and this will only happen if the contribution in the account has been regularly paid.
The Chairman urged the APY Service Providers to educate the subscribers on the importance of the same. He also urged upon the APY Service Providers i.e Banks and Post Offices under Department of Post to achieve the targets allocated by the government by putting in their best efforts.
While the government has a pension scheme for the BPL persons but the amount is meagre and is not sufficient for old age needs. 9% of the population of India, i.e 110 million people are over 60 years and by 2030 this figure is expected to cross 180 million. The 60 plus age groups is the fastest growing demographic in the country. With increase in longevity of the people, the disintegration of the joint family system in India and inflation, there is a greater need for old age than ever before. Currently, pension benefits are available India basically to the organised sector.
Atal Pension Yojana, introduced in 2015 by Government of India provides a self- contributory savings pension scheme with a guaranteed pension of Rs. 1,000/- to Rs. 5,000/- with a very low contribution by the subscriber. All banks and Department of Post have pushed the product to the interiors of the country. APY has an option for increasing the pension amount from Rs. 1000/- to any other amount up to Rs. 5000/- as per the savings capacity of the subscriber, and further allows the spouse to continue the account in the event of the death of the subscriber before the age of sixty years. PFRDA has also been engaging with various State Governments for providing co-contribution under the scheme. With the introduction of e-APY through Aadhaar, the banks will be able to effectively utilise the digital platform for greater coverage.