The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is eyeing to tap into unorganised sector workers such as gig workers and platform workers as the new growth horizons for voluntary pension coverage, its chairman Supratim Bandyopadhyay told FE.
With the government sector reaching near saturation as their new employees are mandatorily enrolled, the regulator’s thrust on the private sector has yielded good results with the addition of about 1 million new subscribers (corporate and individuals) in FY22. Bandyopadhyay said he was expecting such fresh enrollments will be in the order of 1.5 million in FY23.
“We plan to approach companies such as Ola, Uber, Amazon, Flipkart to see how the gig workers and platform workers can be enrolled under the National Pension System (NPS),” the PFRDA chairman said. The pension regulator also prodding institutional distributors of NPS such as banks and non-bank finance companies to talk to the local management of these platforms so that their workers can be enrolled at the time of their joining work.
The unorganised sector workers can join Atal Pension Yojana (APY), the government-backed, voluntary scheme meant to provide old-age income security in the form of minimum assured pension (ranging from Rs 1,000-5,000/month), in proportion to individual contributions. It forms the bulk of the subscriber base under the fold of the NPS. If the workers want to have a higher monthly pension, they can join the NPS for the private sector without a guarantee on returns.
The total number of NPS subscribers (excluding APY) as on August 31, 2022, stood at 16.3 million with a total contribution of Rs 5.8 trillion and assets under management of Rs 7.74 trillion. Bandyopadhyay said fresh NPS contributions are expected to rise 15-16% on year to 1.5-1.6 trillion in FY23.
New APY enrollments are expected to be 15 million in FY23, up from 10 million in FY22. Till August 2022, APY enrollments stood at 40 million with total contributions of Rs 20,865 crore and AUM of Rs 23,032 crore.
The PFRDA’s outreach to gig workers is in line with the government’s mission to provide credible retirement benefits cover to nearly 38 crore hitherto uncovered workforce in the country. Currently, around 12 crore workers, the bulk of whom are in the organised sector, enjoy some kind of retirement benefit under the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), NPS and a few other schemes. EPFO is also looking to tap gig and platform workers under its fold.