The option to upgrade or downgrade the pension amount in the Atal Pension Yojana will now be available once throughout the year, according to a new directive from the Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority (PFRDA) to banks. Earlier, this provision was available only during the month of April every year. Effective from July 1, this is with a view to make the Atal Pension Yojana more attractive for its 2.28 crore subscribers. The option enables APY subscribers to increase or decrease their pension plans according to their changing income levels and capacity to pay APY contributions, which have to be paid till the age of 60 years.
Also, auto-debit of APY contributions will resume from the same date (July 1, 2020). Auto-debit had been stopped till June 30, 2020, following PFRDA’s April 11, 2020 circular providing relief to the Atal Pension Yojana subscribers during the Covid-19 outbreak. It has now been agreed to not levy any penal interest on any pending APY contributions due between April-August, 2020, provided they get auto-debited from the savings account of subscribers before September 30, 2020.
Further, in order to enable subscribers to follow social-distancing norms, PFRDA has asked banks to promote online tools for routine work (like accessing their accounts or obtaining various forms like upgrade and downgrade forms; PRAN Card printing; viewing/downloading APY e-PRAN with subscriber details; Transaction Statement; APY Subscriber Information Brochure and Subscriber Details Modification Form; lodge complaints with the Central Grievances Management System; download Mobile Application, and; access YouTube videos of APY Ki Pathshala) without having to visit their banks’ branch.
The Atal Pension Yojana was launched on May 2015 and is being administered by PFRDA. This scheme is open to all Indian citizens in the age group of 18-40 years, through the bank-branches or post offices where they have their Savings Accounts. The scheme provides the subscriber with a minimum pension of Rs. 1000 to Rs. 5000 per month after attaining the age of 60 years, depending upon his/her contributions. After the death of such subscribers, the same pension amount would be paid to the spouse of the subscriber. Upon the demise of both subscriber and spouse, the pension that has accumulated till the subscriber reaches 60 years of age, would be returned to the nominee.
The scheme is currently being distributed through 258 active APY Service Providers consisting of banks and post offices since the scheme is only available to those who have a Savings Bank account. All Public Sector, private, regional rural, small finance, payment and co-operative banks enthusiastically participate in the various promotional campaigns run by PFRDA all year round.
More than 5 lakh new subscribers have been enrolled under APY in the first quarter of 2020-21 out of which around 4 lakh subscribers joined APY in the month of June 2020.