The top priority of the NDA government is having financial inclusion and promoting social security as well as low cost benefits for its people. The government and other bodies, since the NaMo government’s rise to the centre have worked towards introduction of new schemes to ensure financial security of the common man. Step one was the introduction of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), phase one of which was a major success.
About 1.8 crore bank accounts were opened countrywide. The government then gave the green light for three new schemes in May, two of which were insurance schemes and the third a pension plan or scheme known as Atal Pension Yojana. This is the second phase of the PMJDY as it was particular paramount to get people into banking before benefits were extended to them.
The Atal Pension Yojana was effective as of 1st June 2015. Its main intention is to bring pension benefits to the people of the unorganized sector to allow them enjoy social security even with minimal monthly contributions. Those who can apply for the scheme include those who work in private sector or any other occupation that does not give them the benefits of a pension. These people have a range of options from which to choose.
One can opt for a fixed pension of INR 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 or 5000. Upon death of contributor, the spouse can claim the pension and when the spouse dies, the nominee is returned the corpus fund accrued. The pension funds will manage the amount collected according to the investment pattern of the government and the applicant has no say in either.
This scheme is intended to bring security to ageing Indians as well as promote saving and investment among the lower and lower middle society sections. The poorest sections of the society are the most likely to reap from the scheme.
Individuals in the age bracket of 18 and 40 are the targets of the scheme. This allows them save for not less than 20 years before they can start enjoying its benefits. Also bank account holders who are not part of any statutory social security scheme can apply for this scheme.
Those who were already in the government’s plan “Swavalamban Yojana NPS Lite” also will be automatically moved to the new scheme. To enroll for the new scheme, an account holder is required to complete an authorization form which is forwarded to their bank. Details such as account number, spouse and nominee details should be included in the form as well as authorization for auto debit of contribution amount.
The application form can be downloaded from http://www.jansuraksha.gov.in/FORMS-APY.aspx.
The form comes in different languages. The account holders who apply should ensure that they maintain sufficient balance in their account every month as failing to do so attracts a monthly fine of different rates depending on the contribution amount. The fining charges are as follows:
- For a monthly contribution of up to INR 100 – INR 1
- For a monthly contribution between INR 101 and INR 500 – INR 2
- For a monthly contribution between INR 501 and INR 1000 – INR 5
- For a monthly contribution beyond 1001- INR 10
Failure to make payments to the scheme also has consequences.
- An account holders account will be frozen if no payment is made for six month
- An account holder’s account will be deactivated if they don’t make payment for 12 months
- An account holder’s account will be closed if they don’t remit their contributions for 24 months.
Those without a bank account who wish to apply for the scheme first need to open a bank account by submitting the KYC document and their Aadhaar card. They are also required to submit the APY proposal form.
Any contributor who becomes part of the scheme, under normal circumstances, will not be able to withdraw from the scheme before attaining the age of 60. They will only be able to do so under special circumstances such as death of the beneficiary.