PFRDA board clears extra a/c for NPS subscribers

The Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority (PFRDA) board on Wednesday decided to provide the New Pension System (NPS) subscribers with an extra account from which funds can be withdrawn anytime they want.

An NPS subscriber can now have two accounts—a standard one and a flexible one. Although the norms for investing the contributions to these two accounts would be the same, subscribers will have greater flexibility in accessing funds from the second one, when needed. One can access funds from the standard account called tier one only for specific needs such as medical emergency or marriage. The flexible account will be introduced on December 1, 2009.

The pension regulator also decided in principle to introduce a low-cost pension scheme for the poor, for which PFRDA is negotiating with the record keeper to reduce the annual charges from Rs 350 to Rs 60, PFRDA chairman D Swarup told ET.

The National Securities Depositories (NSDL) has agreed to slash the charges to Rs 75 a year, but PFRDA is negotiating to further lower it to Rs 60. The scheme would enable a large section of the nearly 28 crore low-income workers such as rickshaw pullers, fishermen, weavers and street hawkers to have a safety net to lean on when they enter the twilight years of their working life.

“The idea of having more than one record keeping agency has also received the blessings of the PFRDA board,” said Mr Swarup. Competition among record keeping agencies would bring down cost and enhance efficiency, pension experts said.

The three-member board of the regulator also decided to accept proposals from corporate entities to manage their pension funds subject to the condition that these entities will have only those investment choices that are available to any other pension subscriber. They will not be able to customise the investment options NPS’ fund management charges are quite low. The regulator has already received proposals in this regard from SBI and Himachal Road Transport Corporation.
source:The Economic Times


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