Centre may increase age limit for Atal pension scheme
The Centre is planning to raise the maximum age limit for entering the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) from 40 to 50 years. There is also a plan to add more slabs in the scheme in order to make it more attractive.
At present, the maximum guaranteed pension in the scheme is Rs 5,000 per month. The government is actively considering adding more slabs. Accordingly, the highest slab could be up to Rs 10,000, said a source.
The scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015. The highest contributing state is Uttar Pradesh, with 11.41 APY account, followed by Bihar and Tamil Nadu—8.87 lakh and 6.60 lakh subscribers, respectively. The earlier pension scheme, Swavalamban, was merged with the APY.
The government is also planning to increase the age limit for the scheme. Currently, the minimum age of joining the scheme is 18 years and maximum is 40 years. There is a move to increase this age limit up to 50 years so that more and more people join the scheme and benefit. However, those joining at an advanced age will have to pay higher contributions.
This is to be noted that the government recently raised the maximum age limit from 60 to 65 years for joining the National Pension Scheme (NPS), another pension scheme.
The subscriber base under the scheme, under the eye of Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), has reached about 81 lakh. The authority has taken various initiatives for expanding its outreach and easing the operations under the scheme, which include online facility to view statement of account and ePRAN (Permanent Retirement Account Number) card for easy access of account of APY subscribers.
The scheme became operational from June 2015 and is available to all citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years. Under the scheme, a subscriber would receive a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 per month, depending upon his contribution, from the age of 60 years. The same pension is paid to the spouse of the subscriber and on the demise of both the subscriber and the spouse, the accumulated pension wealth is returned to the nominee. The APY scheme follows the same investment pattern as applicable to the National Pension Scheme (NPS) contribution of Central government employees. According to an official, about 233 banks and department of Post are involved with the implementation of the scheme. Besides that, quite a few banks are sourcing subscribers through their internet banking portals in a paperless environment.