Despite the unprecedented challenges due to coronavirus outbreak, over 52 lakh new subscribers have been enrolled under Atal Pension Yojana (APY) during the financial year 2020-21 so far. With this, the total enrolments crossed the landmark of 2.75 crores as on December 31, 2020. APY is a guaranteed pension scheme of Government of India (GoI), which offers triple benefits to the subscribers on attaining 60 years of age. The benefits include minimum guaranteed pension to the subscribers, same guaranteed pension to the spouse after the demise of subscribers and return of the accumulated pension wealth as accumulated till age 60 of the subscribers, to their nominee, according to Pension Fund Regulatory And Development Authority (PFRDA), which terms the addition of more than 52 lakh new subscribers in the financial year 2020-21 so far has been remarkable and result of untiring efforts of banks.
During the period, State Bank of India (SBI) enrolled more than 15 lakh new APY subscribers while other banks -- Canara Bank, Indian Bank, Central Bank of India, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda (BoB), Airtel Payments Bank Ltd, Punjab National Bank (PNB), Axis Bank Ltd, Union Bank of India (UBI) and Indian Overseas Bank (IoB) --have sourced more than one lakh APY accounts. Encouraged by high-pace of enrolments under the scheme, PFRDA is committed to continue its endeavour to popularize the scheme through various APY campaigns getting launched at national and state levels, constant engagement with bankers through video conferences, participation in the State-Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) meetings, publicity through social, print and electronic media and introducing digital on-boarding of APY subscribers.
Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is the statutory authority established by an enactment of the Parliament, to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of the National Pension System (NPS) and pension schemes to which this Act applies. NPS was initially notified for central government employees recruits w.e.f January 1, 2004, and subsequently adopted by almost all state governments for their employees. NPS was extended to all Indian citizens (resident/non-resident/overseas) on a voluntary basis and to corporates for its employees. As on October 10, 2020, the total number of subscribers under NPS and Atal Pension Yojana has crossed 3.76 crores and the Asset under Management (AUM) has grown to Rs 5,05,424 crores.
Digital empowerment solutions to exit from NPS
PFRDA offers NPS Subscribers through its intermediaries, comprehensive and digitally enabled solutions for their diverse needs from on-boarding, servicing, exit and facilitating issuance of annuity from the empanelled Annuity Service Providers (ASPs) as per the choice of the Subscribers.
K Mohan Gandhi, GM, PFRDA, said: “In order to take digital initiatives further, it has now been decided by PFRDA to make the exit process also more agile and seamless by allowing the off line Aadhaar authentication for the purpose of self-authorizing exit requests of e-NPS Subscribers. Under this process, the eNPS subscribers with a corpus up to Rs10 lakh in their NPS Accounts, can furnish their off line Aadhaar details, for the purpose of exit. In addition, for e-NPS subscribers, whose corpus is more than Rs10 lakh as well as for the subscribers associated to POPs (Point of Presence), an online platform has recently been enabled, where the exit requests of all citizens /corporate sector subscribers would be verified by POPs, while exits of e-NPS subscribers (not associated to any POP) would be verified by their respective banks which are registered as POPs with PFRDA.”
Exit through Self-authorization by e-NPS subscribers
As part of various digital transformative initiatives introduced by PFRDA, it has already enabled opening of NPS accounts by using offline Aadhaar with the explicit consent of the prospective subscriber. Under the current process of exit of NPS subscribers of POPs, the subscribers have to visit their POPs to complete their withdrawal request processed and the task is performed offline. The subscribers are required to submit the NPS withdrawal forms along with the other supporting documents for authorization by POP.
Now, in addition to the existing offline process as mentioned above, the subscribers shall also have an online option to submit the withdrawal documents and authorizing their withdrawal request by using OTP/e-sign to make the process seamless in a paperless manner. In the online process, Subscribers associated to a POP will initiate the exit request in Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA) system using login credentials and provide the relevant details of exit viz. Corpus allocation for lump sum/annuity, Annuity Service Provider (ASP), Annuity scheme, etc. and would upload the withdrawal documents including KYC. The online submission is further authenticated through either OTP or e-sign.
The POP shall identify the bank account number of the subscriber by ‘Instant Bank Account Verification’ through penny drop and also verify the uploaded documents. The detailed online exit process for NPS Subscribers associated to POPs is provided at the Annexure. The role of POPs, while performing the task of processing withdrawal requests of NPS subscribers is defined under PFRDA (Point of Presence) Regulations 2018 under Regulation-15 (2) (c) which needs to be complied with.
For successful processing online/offline withdrawal request of NPS subscribers, PoPs shall be incentivized with a fee at 0.125 per cent of the corpus with minimum amount of Rs125 and maximum upto Rs500 payable by the subscribers. Central Record Keeping Agencies (CRAs) and POPs are advised by PFRDA to develop the required technical functionalities in a time bound manner in the interest of NPS Subscribers.
The writer is a business journalist with 27 years of experience