Nearly two million people subscribed to the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) from April till date bringing the total base under the government-backed pension scheme to 21 million, according to Supratim Bandyopadhyay, chairman, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
Further, assets under management (AUM) of the National Pension Scheme (NPS) are set to touch Rs 5 lakh crore by September-end, Bhandopadhyay said, with the figure growing at 16.5% so far during the current fiscal.
“I’m very happy that almost, this year also, during this lockdown, despite these challenging times, more than two million customers have come and joined Atal Pension Yojana,” he said, during a conference hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry on Friday.
Currently, the NPS has an AUM of Rs 4.85 lakh crore and is likely to see its assets grow 34% annually this year as well, the regulator said, adding that asset quality also remained robust.
“The asset quality remains very robust despite all these events that we have seen…we find that our overall NPA (non-performing assets) is just about 0.3% of the total asset base and everything is provided for so net NPA is 0 at this point of time.”
Bandopadhyay also highlighted that its schemes gave good competition to mutual funds in terms of returns.
The 11-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) for the NPS’ equity scheme was 9.09% while that of its corporate bond scheme and government security scheme was 10.64% and 10.41% respectively.
However, India still had a very long way to go in terms of pension coverage. “Pension assets versus GDP, including employees’ provident fund, public provident fund, everything taken together, that also contributes only 10% of the country’s total GDP,” he said.
The Mercer Global Pension Index 2019 ranked India 32nd out of 37 countries. Added to this, while mortality experience has been increasing, improvements in the quality of life have not kept pace, Bandopadhyay said.
Also, the dependency ratio, or the age-population ratio of those not in the labor force and those in it, will increase from 1:7 currently to 1:5 by 2030, he added.
Mercer suggested increasing the cover in the unorganised sector, prescribing minimum age to access benefits, extending the pensionable age and improving contribution levels.