PFRDA sees ally in post offices to offer NPS services

Post offices will soon offer services under the new pension system as the department of posts is set to sign an agreement with the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) in this regard. Initially, the services will be available only in computerised post offices, an official in the ministry of communications & IT said.

After the agreement, the postal department will act as an agency to enrol NPS customers, the official said requesting anonymity. Technically known as ‘points of presence’ (PoPs), these agencies serve as contact and collection centres where pension contributions are collected under the NPS scheme. There are 21 PoPs providing NPS services including banks such as State Bank of India, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Oriental Bank of Union Bank of India.

The pension regulator is now convinced that some of the post offices have the IT infrastructure to serve the scheme.

Earlier, the watchdog had expressed doubt due to the poor IT penetration in the postal system, post offices may not be able to provide NPS services. “But around 3,000 post offices were found to be fully equipped,” the official said. The official didn’t specify the time frame within which the agreement will be signed. The PFRDA opened up the new pension system to all citizens from May 1, 2009. It is compulsory for all government employees joining service on or after January 1, 2004.

Under the new pension system, instead of agents selling the scheme, the regulator has banks and other financial institutions as points of presence, where an account could be opened. As a result, the marketing cost of the pension plan remains low and the fees applicable are disclosed upfront. The scheme offers a social security net for workers in the unorganised sector too.

The regulator is now in talks with the government to bear the transaction cost for the unorganised sector, which would make the scheme even more attractive.
Source: The Economic Times


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