The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), which has been established by the Government of India for regulation and development of the pension sector in order to protect the old age income security of subscribers, took several customer-friendly initiatives this year, ie., 2016.
The launch of Mobile App for National Pension System (NPS) subscribers was one of the important steps taken in that direction.
Earlier only view facility for the latest Holding Statement under PFRDA-led NPS was available. Subsequently, other facilities like last five contribution transactions details, change in contact details (Telephone / Mobile no. / email ID), change password / security question, transaction statement for the year, account details and a few others were made available and extended to the subscribers of the National Pension System, who have been using the NPS App.
Besides, online Tier II activation through eNPS was made functional. That apart, in cases where a bank had not confirmed Know Your Customer (KYC) and PRAN (Permanent Retirement Account Number) was in the frozen state, functionality was developed wherein subscribers (registered through eNPS- PAN based) could update the address using Aadhaar-based authentication under eNPS. In such cases, no confirmation would be required from the bank and the subscriber can make further NPS contributions.
However, details of the process for ‘re-KYC verification’ through Aadhaar authentication is provided to those subscribers in whose case KYC has been rejected by banks via email.
The year also saw the major development in the form of NPS subscribers, except in the Government sector (Central as well as State Governments), being allowed to change their Scheme Preference after two level authentication process. The One-Time Password (OTP) generation in this case would possible only after logging in.
The facility for a subscriber to generate online Internet Personal Identification Number (IPIN) and Telephonic Personal Identification Number (TPIN) in the eNPS was provided.
The capturing of mobile no. and email ID of the subscriber at the time of rejection memo was also facilitated. Accordingly, SMS and e-mail for the rejection is sent, if any rejection happens.
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Here we are taking a look at some major initiatives taken by PFRDA this year for the benefit of NPS subscribers:
1. Online subscriber registration and contribution facility under NPS developed
In light of the PM’s ‘Digital India’ campaign on promoting e-governance for providing last mile connectivity through extensive use of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) platforms, PFRDA in the beginning of this year developed an online platform for registration of subscribers and receipt of contribution under the National Pension System (eNPS) through NPS Trust at www. npstrust .org.in. Through this platform, a prospective subscriber can register for NPS and contribute to his/her Permanent Retirement Account. Further, the subscribers who already have an NPS account can make contributions through eNPS directly.
2. eNPS facility extended to NRIs
NPS has been available to NRIs for some time through bank offices. However, to further ease the process of joining, eNPS facility was extended to NRI subscribers in the middle of this year. NRIs can now open NPS accounts online if they have an Aadhaar or PAN card. Till now, NRIs could open NPS accounts only through paper applications by approaching bank offices, but this has now changed. Through eNPS, a subscriber will be able to open an NPS account from the comfort of his home. All he will need is an internet connection and an Aadhaar/ PAN card. Further, NRIs will be able to open NPS accounts both on Repatriable and on Non-Repatriable basis.
3. Launch of Mobile App for NPS
The launch of mobile app for the National Pension System (NPS) subscribers was one of the important steps taken by PFRDA to help subscribers. The Mobile App will help subscribers in the following way:
Contribution Submission: Subscribers can now make contributions under NPS (Tier I as well as Tier II account) using Mobile App. The subscriber will have two options for submission of contributions using Mobile App either by logging into the App with User ID and password or by accessing the link for contribution on home page. If the subscriber opts to submit contribution by logging into the App, he/she can generate One Time Password (OTP) for contribution without providing additional details such as PRAN & Date of Birth. If the subscriber opts to submit contribution by accessing the contribution link on home page, he/she will be directed to the eNPS portal wherein he/she will be required to provide PRAN and Date of Birth for generation of OTP.
Scheme Preference Change: Subscribers can now change their scheme preference using Mobile App. Scheme preference of both Tier I and Tier II can be changed based on sector applicability (e.g. Central Govt subscribers can change the scheme preference of only Tier II account whereas all citizens of India sector subscribers can change the scheme preference of Tier I as well as Tier II account). Scheme preference can be changed only once in a year. The option will be available to the subscriber to select the option for Scheme Preference Change and generate OTP. On entering the correct OTP, the existing scheme preference will be shown to the subscriber with option to change the same.
Subscriber Details Modification (Address Change through Aadhaar): Subscribers can now change their address in Mobile App using Aadhaar authentication. The option will be available to the subscriber to change his correspondence address and /or permanent address. Subscribers availing this option need to verify their Aadhaar details through OTP authentication. On entering the correct OTP, address details registered under Aadhaar will get updated for NPS account and the screen with modified address will be displayed to the subscriber. In case of Government Subscribers, once the request is made through the Mobile App, the associated Nodal Office needs to authorise the request to complete the updation of address.
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4. Option to upgrade/downgrade pension amount under Atal Pension Yojana (APY)
A facility has been provided to the APY subscriber to upgrade or downgrade his/her pension amount, i.e., the subscriber can change the minimum guaranteed amount of pension opted by him/her. In case of upgrade of the pension amount, the differential amount has to be paid by the subscriber. In case the Subscriber wants to reduce the pension amount (downgrading), the additional amount contributed along with the return generated will be refunded to the subscribers. In this scenario, excess units credited would be redeemed based on the latest NAV applicable and given back to the subscriber by crediting to his/her bank account registered under APY.
5. Introduction of new asset class and funds under NPS
For subscribers opting for Active Choice Scheme Preference, a new option called Alternate Investment Fund (AIF) has been introduced in addition to the existing equity, corporate and government options. At present, the alternate scheme contribution percentage cannot be more than 5%.
Further, additional options with new variants of Life Cycle Fund have been introduced for subscribers opting for Auto Choice Scheme Preference. The subscribers now have an option to choose from three variants of Life Cycle Fund — (a) Aggressive Life Cycle Fund with 75% in Equity, (b) Conservative Life Cycle Fund with 25% in Equity in addition to the existing, (C) Default Life Cycle Fund with 50% in Equity.