Atal Pension Yojna is the most widely used social security scheme within NPS system

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With over 2.8 crore participants, primarily from rural areas, the Atal Pension Yojana has emerged as the most popular social security system under the National Pension System.

Over 66 percent, or 2.8 crore, of the 4.2 crore National Pension System (NPS) subscribers opted for the APY at the end of 2020-21, according to the National Pension Systems Trust’s annual report (NPS Trust).

State Government Scheme comes in second place with an 11% share, while central autonomous bodies (CAB) continue to account for the smallest share of NPS subscribers with a 1% share, followed by state autonomous bodies (SAB) with a 2% share.

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“The APY plan is the most popular among non-metro subscribers. This also mirrors the country’s demographic trend, with more unorganised population segments residing in non-metro areas and so having access to the NPS’s self-initiated plan “According to the report.

The total assets under management (AUM) for National Pension System schemes increased by more than 38% year on year and stood at Rs 5.78 lakh crore at the end of the year, the report said, adding that the NPS had 4.2 crore registered users, or subscribers, as of fiscal 2021.

The National Pension System is a defined contribution retirement savings plan governed and maintained by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).

APY also topped in terms of subscriber base growth, with a 33% year-over-year increase in the fiscal year ending March 2021, followed by the all-citizen model (32 per cent).

The Government of India introduced the Atal Pension Yojana in May 2015. This scheme is open to all citizens between the ages of 18 and 40.

After reaching the age of 60, a subscriber would receive a guaranteed pension of between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 per month, based on his payments.

Following the subscriber’s death, the same pension sum would be provided to his or her spouse. On the demise of both the subscriber and his or her spouse, the subscriber’s accrued pension fortune would be returned to the nominee.

Non-metros had 3.77 crore subscribers, or almost 89 percent of the total NPS subscriber base of 4.24 crore.

“Non-metros subscribers increased by 72.34 lakh in fiscal 2021 (a 24 percent year-over-year increase), while metro subscribers increased by 4.87 lakh to 35.78 lakh in fiscal 2021 (a 16 percent year-over-year increase),” it said.

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According to the data, almost 85 percent of NPS members were in the 18-40 age range, up 200 basis points (bps) from their share in fiscal 2019-20. Within this young subscriber base, the 18-25 age bracket accounted for 30% of the total.

As of fiscal year 2021, there were 2.47 crore male subscribers, up from 2.02 crore in fiscal 2020 and 1.61 crore in fiscal 2019. Female customers increased to 1.77 crore in fiscal 2021, up from 1.43 crore in fiscal 2020 and 1.12 crore in fiscal 2019.

While male subscribers continue to dominate the overall subscriber base, female subscribers increased at a quicker rate of 24% in 2020-21 and 28% in 2019-20, compared to 22% and 25% for male subscribers, respectively.

PFRDA formed the National Pension System Trust in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Trusts Act of 1882 for the purpose of looking after the assets and funds under the NPS in the best interests of the subscribers.

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