NPS Lite accounts cross 11 lakh mark

NPS–Lite,meant for the disadvantaged,has left its older twin NPS–Main,behind.

Written by Ritu Kant Ojha | New Delhi | Published: May 4, 2012 1:03 am

The New Pension System (NPS) – Lite scheme,meant for the economically disadvantaged,has left its older twin NPS–Main,which is focussed on the organised sector,miles behind in terms of the number of accounts opened.

While the NPS Main scheme is struggling to cross even the one lakh subscriber mark,NPS-Lite has already exceeded 11 lakh subscribers in a much smaller time span.

According to the latest figures,the NPS-Lite accounts doubled in the financial year 2011-12. As against 4.38 lakh accounts during 2010-11,NPS Lite garnered 4.96 new accounts during FY 2011-12.

In addition to this,the pension sector regulator PFRDA also opened 1.75 lakh “gramin dak sevak” accounts in tie up with the Department of Post,taking the total tally of NPS-Lite accounts to 11.09 lakh.

Out of the total,over 6.37 lakh accounts were eligible for the “Swavalamban scheme” of the government.

Experts believe that the main reason behind the difference in the response to both the schemes is in the way each is sold.

While NPS-Lite is majorly sold through the large non-profit and self help groups,NPS-Main is largely being sold individually.

“Numbers of NPS–Lite show there is a lesson for NPS –Main which needs to focus on group selling. Till the scheme becomes hugely popular,the focus must remain on group selling and engaging more and more organisations,” said a pension fund manager suggesting that it is difficult to sell scheme to individuals as compared to large associations.

PFRDA has recently stepped-up its efforts to tap employees of private and public sector companies through a corporate scheme offer by engaging various industry chambers.

The finance minister,in his Budget for 2010-11,had announced the “Swavalamban scheme” under which government provides an incentive of Rs 1,000 for every eligible account. It was applicable on an annual minimum investment of Rs 1,000 and a maximum of Rs 12,000. In the last Budget,government announced extension of this benefit to five years from earlier three years.

“For NPS Lite,we have been focussing on engaging the NGOs and places like large dairies etc. in villages and semi-urban areas to open NPS Lite accounts in bulk. The Rs 1,000 incentive is also helping the cause,” said a finance ministry official.

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