Money & Banking

Atal Pension Yojana set to add one crore subscribers in FY21, says regulator

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on December 04, 2019 Published on December 04, 2019

Supratim Bandyopadhyay, Whole-time Member (Finance), PFRDA

The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority expects to have an additional 75 lakh new customers this year.

The Atal Pension Yojana (APY), a key pension scheme of the government, which covers workers in the unorganised sector, will see an addition of 1 crore subscribers in FY21 if the current momentum persists, said a senior official of the regulator, the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).

“The way things are going, we will have anywhere between 2.3-2.4 crore subscribers by the end of this year, that means an addition of 75 lakh new customers this year (FY2020),” said Supratim Bandyopadhyay, wholetime member (Finance), PFRDA.

Speaking on the sidelines of a workshop in the city last week, Bandyopadhyay told BusinessLine that APY saw a net addition of 57 lakh subscribers in the previous year.

Also read: More Indians can get a pension. Here’s how

“So, if it goes this way and we continue to get support from our service providers, then next year, we can easily keep a target of 1 crore for the whole year,” Bandyopadhyay said, adding that the target was a little optimistic but still possible.

Major milestone

APY reached a milestone of enrolling over 1.9 crore subscribers in the first week of November. According to Bandyopadhyay, the subscriber base would have easily crossed the 2 crore mark by the end of November.

The primary reason for the uptick in enrolment was achievement of targets allocated to banks for the opening of new APY accounts.

Also read: Atal Pension Yojana: Guaranteed returns in the silver years

Public sector banks, regional rural banks and private sector banks are the major delivery channels for the APY scheme. In January 2018, the government allowed Payments Banks and Small Finance Banks (SFBs) to strengthen the distribution channels and boost APY’s customer outreach.

PFRDA has set an astronomical target of covering over 45 crore people under APY and the flagship National Pension System (NPS). While APY currently has around 2 crore subscribers, NPS has over 90 lakh subscribers, which includes Central and State government employees, corporates and retail subscribers.

“It (45 crore subscribers) cannot be done overnight. APY was actually launched in June 2015, but it started working in a big way only from last year,” Bandyopadhyay said, adding that the APY scheme was a little slow in the last two years due to lack of understanding of the product and absence of supporting systems.

Age limit relaxation proposal

“But now, the system is all set up and people have understood the product very well,” he said. “We are also planning to do one more thing which will really give a boost to the subscription. If the government allows, we are going to change the age restriction from 18-40 currently, to up to 50 years,” Bandyopadhyay said.

He added that a proposal to this effect, along with the necessary calculations, has already been submitted to the government for its consideration.

“We also want to increase the minimum guaranteed pension amount from ₹5,000 to ₹10,000 per month, and if that happens, I believe a large number of people will come,” he added.

Published on December 04, 2019
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