Having opened over 73 lakh accounts under the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) so far, the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is now eyeing 1 crore APY accounts by March 2018. This was disclosed by its Chairman Hemant Contractor recently. Rajiv Kumar, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, had also said during an APY conference recently that “we have fixed a target of 1 crore for APY to be achieved by this fiscal-end. When we can achieve huge success in Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bhima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bhima Yojana (PMSBY), we see no reason why can’t the APY target be achieved,” he said, according to media reports.
It may be noted that it is the objective of PFRDA to cover the maximum possible population uncovered by any pension scheme under the APY scheme so that India as a nation could move from a ‘pension-less’ to a ‘pensioned society’. And in a bid to meet its objective, PFRDA — which manages APY – has already taken lots of initiatives to increase the subscriber base under the Atal Pension Yojana.
For instance, now the Atal Pension Yojana can also be digitally subscribed. The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has introduced ‘APY@eNPS’, which involves a complete digital enrolment process. This is the latest in the series of various initiatives taken by PFRDA to give the Atal Pension Yojana an additional push. PFRDA has conducted meetings with various banks as well as the Department of Post at Kolkata, Bengaluru & Mumbai for the earliest rollout of the facility.
The Department of Financial Services in association with PFRDA has also been organizing various APY campaigns to give thrust through which the population not covered by any pension scheme is approached by APY Service Provider banks and the Department of Posts to inform about the salient features and benefits of the APY scheme and are encouraged to get enrolled in the scheme. PFRDA has also been engaging with various state governments for providing co-contribution under the scheme.
APY was launched by the Prime Minister of India on May 9, 2015 and became operational from June 1, 2015. APY is available for all citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years. Under the APY, the subscribers would receive a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs 1000 per month, Rs 2000 per month, Rs 3000 per month, Rs 4000 per month, and Rs 5000 per month, at the age of 60 years, depending on their contributions, which itself would vary on the age of joining the APY.
At a time when the interest rate on various financial instruments including savings bank is declining, Atal Pension Yojana as a pension scheme offers a guaranteed rate of 8% assured return for the subscribers and also the opportunity of higher earnings in case the rate of return is higher than 8% at the time of maturity, after staying invested in the scheme for 20-42 years.