The Atal Pension Yojana (APY) is a welfare pension scheme launched by the Government of India in 2015 with the aim of providing social security to people, particularly to those employed in the unorganised sector.
Its objective was to provide old-age income security to the citizens of India. On May 9, 2023, it completed eight years and now boasts of a subscriber base of 52.5 million (5.25 crore). The enrolment has been continuously increasing since its launch from 2.48 million on March 31, 2016, to 52.54 million as on May 9, 2023.
According to data from the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), new enrolments in the scheme grew 20 per cent in 2022-23 (FY23) over the previous year compared to 25 per cent growth in FY2021-22 over FY2020-21.
The scheme has given a return of 8.92 per cent per annum since its inception. The total fund PFRDA maintains as assets under management (AUM) in the scheme as on May 12, 2023, stands at a huge Rs. 28,434 crore.
For a better reach of APY among its intended target audience, the government has taken the help of banks (both public and private), small finance bank, payments banks, regional rural bank, and Department of Posts to spread awareness about the scheme.
OPENING AND OPERATING APY ACCOUNT
Any Indian citizen in the age group of 18-40 years who is not an income taxpayer can open an APY account. The person needs to have a savings bank account to register for the scheme.
The lifelong guaranteed pension under APY can be a minimum of Rs 1,000 and a maximum of Rs 5,000 once the subscriber attains the age of 60.
One can check the monthly payment amount and the pension amount, which depends on one’s current age, and choose the plan accordingly.
Like any insurance plan, the pension depends on the contributions, which differ for different age groups for the same amount of pension. It means that the contribution amount for a certain pension amount depends on the age of the person at the time of joining the scheme.
In case of the subscriber’s demise, the same amount of pension would be given to the spouse of the subscriber. In case of demise of both the subscriber and spouse, the balance of the pension amount accumulated till the age of 60 years, will be returned to the nominee.
People in the organised sector have the employees’ provident fund (EPF) and employee pension scheme (EPS) for their retirement needs. But for the people in the unorganised sector, APY is a good alternative as it provides a fixed amount of financial security in their old age for which they need to pay a small amount in contribution in their working years.
As on May 9, 2023, the public sector banks had the highest number of subscribers at 36.87 million, followed by regional rural banks with 10.04 million subscribers and private sector banks at 3.45 million. Out of the total subscriber base of 5.25 million, the remaining subscribers are from small finance banks, payment banks, co-op banks, and postal departments.