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Modi government is looking into Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority’s (PFRDA) proposal to double the monthly pension limit to Rs 10,000 from the existing Rs 5,000 under the Atal Pension Yojana (APY).

The proposed hike, if approved, will attract more people towards the scheme and provide better inflation-beating returns.

PFRDA chairman Hemant G Contractor, speaking at the Atal Pension Yojana Annual Conference on Tuesday, said the proposal has been sent to the Finance Ministry with an aim to increase the subscriber base of APY.

“Currently, we have five slabs of pension from Rs.1,000-5000 per month. There have been a lot of feedback from the market asking for higher pension amounts because many people feel that Rs.5,000 at the age of 60 years, 20-30 years from now, will not be sufficient. We have placed this proposal with the government that it should be increased to up to Rs.10,000,” Contractor said.

The PFRDA has sent two more proposals to the Ministry: auto enrolment for APY and raising the maximum age bar to enter the scheme from 40 years to 50 years.

At present, said a report in The Hindu, the age of entering APY is from 18-40 years but an increase in the same by another 10 years — from 18-50 years — will help in expanding the subscriber base, he added.

The subscriber base of APY is 1.02 crore. The PFRDA added about 50 lakh new subscribers under the scheme in 2017-18 and hopes to add another 60-70 lakh in the ongoing financial year, Contractor said.

There is a need to increase the value of pension under APY, Madnesh Kumar Mishra, Joint Secretary, Department of Financial Services (DFS), said at the conference, reported The Hindu.

“We have seen the proposal [sent by PFRDA] of increasing the pension value to [up to] Rs.10,000 per month and it is under our active examination,” Mishra said on the sidelines of the event.

Aimed specifically at the unorganised sector, the APY was introduced in June 2015 and aims to provide sustainable old-age income for more than 80% of India’s workforce. It had recently touched the 10 million subscriber mark, with nearly five million people enrolling for the scheme in 2017-18.

As on 31 March, 10.2 million subscribers have contributed to the scheme with Rs 4,400 crore. Currently the scheme has 60% men and 40% women, said K Mohan Gandhi, general manager, PFRDA.

The APY scheme is aimed specifically at unorganised sector and is in addition to the other pension scheme – the National Pension Scheme (NPS). The NPS, launched in 2004 was initially meant for government employees but was opened up to all Indians in 2009. The maximum age for opening a NPS account in 55 years and there is no upper limit for investing, as per a report in The Financial Express.

The minimum age to invest in Atal Pension Yojana is 18 years. The maximum stipulated age to enter and contribute to an APY account is 40 years. The PFRDA has proposed to raise the maximum age to 50 years.

APY works on pre-defined contribution slabs which enable an investor to reach his or her fixed pension goal of Rs. 1,000, Rs. 2,000, Rs. 3,000, Rs. 4,000 and Rs. 5,000 at present. The PFRDA has proposed to raise the maximum amount to Rs.10,000. The earlier one starts, the lower is the monthly contribution required to reach the desired pension goal, say financial planners.

APY comes with three modes of payment. These are monthly, quarterly and half-yearly. That means a minimum of two contributions are required every year. An 18-year-old subscriber to APY, for example, is required to pay Rs. 42 per month or Rs. 248 half-yearly for a pension of Rs. 1,000 per month after he or she attains the age of 60 years. – from NDTV

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