Launch of NPS and Current scenario
FOR PUBLIC AND STAKEHOLDERS COMMENTS – CONCEPT PAPER – CHOICE TO THE GOVT EMPLOYEES
A. Launch of NPS and Current scenario
1. The National Pension System (NPS) was introduced in 2003 for all Central Government employees (except armed forces) who joined the service on or after 01.01.2004. The NPS marked a paradigm shift from the Defined Benefit Pension Scheme to Defined Contribution Scheme, thereby easing the escalating fiscal stress on the Government on account of rising pension liabilities. In 2009 different Schemes under the flagship of National Pension System were launched under the private sector and unorganised sector.
2. The National Pension System (NPS) has been arguably hailed as one of the best designed pension products domestically with its several unique features like full portability across jobs and geographical jurisdictions, choice of investment options to suit different risk appetites, option to choose from among several fund managers, no entry or exit loads, and perhaps the lowest fund management charges in the world. It is also regulated by a dedicated regulator.
3. The passage of the PFRDA Act in September 2013 followed by notification of the Act on 1st February 2014 marks an important milestone in the history of the Pension Sector reforms as the Act provides an overarching mandate to the PFRDA for promotion and development of old age security in India. In light of the paradigm shift in the pension landscape in the country, it is imperative to review the progress of NPS so far and realign the existing policy framework for Pension Funds within the mandate of the Act.
4. The NPS adopted a direct selling model to keep the costs low and to avoid the urge to mis-sell due to the embedded commissions. This distributor-free and agent-free model was designed to protect the individual and to maximise the pension wealth. It was adopted even at the risk of a slow start. The NPS architecture has been designed to create an enabling environment for the citizens to save for retirement.
5. Additionally, NPS also provides flexibility to subscribers where they can switch their pension funds among three options, i.e. equity, corporate bonds and government securities. They can also change their fund managers if they are not satisfied with the performance of Pension Funds.