The Atal Pension Yojana (APY) was launched to create a universal social security system for all Indians, especially the poor, the underprivileged, and the workers in the unorganized sector. It is an initiative of the government to provide financial security and cover future difficulties for the people in the unorganized sector. The scheme was launched on 9 May 2015. and was operationalized w.e.f. 1 June 2015. The APY is focused on all citizens in the unorganized sector, who join the National Pension System (NPS) administered by the Pension Fund Regulatory And Development Authority (PFRDA) and who are not members of any statutory social security scheme.
APY can be subscribed by any Indian citizen in the age group of 18-40 years having a bank account. Under the APY, subscribers would receive a fixed pension of Rs 1000 – Rs 5000 per month, at the age of 60 years, depending on their contributions, which in turn would vary on the age of joining the APY.
Benefits of Atal Pension Yojana (APY):
The Uniqueness of APY is attributable to three distinctive benefits.
- First, it provides a minimum guaranteed pension upon attaining 60 years of age. Subscribers would receive the guaranteed minimum monthly pension of Rs 1000 or Rs 2000 or Rs 3000 or Rs 4000 or Rs 5000 at the age of 60 years, based on the contribution made by the subscriber after joining the scheme.
- Secondly, The amount of pension is guaranteed for a lifetime to the spouse on the death of the subscriber.
- Lastly, in the event of the death of both the subscriber and the spouse, the entire pension corpus is paid to the nominee.
- Further, the minimum pension would be guaranteed by the government, i.e., if the accumulated corpus based on contributions earns a lower-than-estimated return on investment and is inadequate to provide the minimum guaranteed pension, the Central Government would fund such inadequacy. Alternatively, if the returns on investment are higher, the subscriber would get enhanced pensionary benefits.
Eligibility For APY:
- Atal Pension Yojana (APY) is open to all bank account holders who are not members of any statutory social security scheme.
- Any individual who is eligible to receive benefits under the APY will have to furnish proof of possession of an Aadhar Number or undergo enrolment under Aadhar authentication. An APY subscriber will have to get the Aadhar Number recorded in his or her APY pension account and also in his/her savings account where the periodic pension contribution installments are debited and government co-contribution is to be credited.
Enrolment and Subscriber Payment:
All Bank account holders under the eligible category may join the APY with an auto-debit facility to accounts, leading to a reduction in contribution collection charges.
Operation Framework For APY:
APY is being administered by the Pension Fund Regulatory And Development Authority (PFRDA) which has taken several steps to create awareness and increase the outreach of the scheme. Some of the steps are given below:
- Conducting outreach programs in collaboration with Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) And State Level Bankers’ Committees (SLBCs).
- Conduction Periodic Meetings with bank officials to review the progress of implementation of APY across the country.
- Capacity building of bank branch officials/banking correspondents through various training programs so that information regarding the scheme and its benefits can be disseminated to potential/eligible populations.
- Periodic advertisements in print and electronic media.
Achievements under APY:
- As On 27 April 2022, more than four crore individuals have subscribed to the scheme.
- There has been a five-fold increase in the number of subscribers of Atal Pension Yojana in the Aspirational Districts.