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Atal Pension Yojana
Named after one of India’s most popular erstwhile Prime Ministers, the Atal Pension Yojana is aimed squarely at the weaker sections of the society as well as those individuals who can benefit from a government sponsored welfare program. The central premise of this scheme is to provide the pension option to individuals who are working in the unorganized professional sectors and aren’t covered by any regular pension plans. Applicants pay a very low premium and enjoy the fruits of a robust and reliable pension plan.
Benefit of Atal Pension Yojana
APY provides guaranteed pension of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 (as explained above) to the subscribers. The scheme also allows a subscriber to decrease or increase pension amount during the course of accumulation phase, once an year.
In case of death of subscriber, the spouse of the subscriber shall be entitled for the same amount of pension till his or her death. And after the demise of both spouse and subscriber, the nominee will be entitled to receive the pension money that the subscriber, the nominee will be entitled to receive the pension money that the subscriber had accumulated till 60 years of age.
Restrictions on government contribution
However if you are a part of any other social security scheme and a tax payer, then you are not entitled for government contribution. For instance, members of the Social Security Schemes under the following enactments would not be eligible to receive Government co-contribution:
Atal Pension Yojana (APY) is open to all bank account holders. The Central Government would also co-contribute 50% of the total contribution or Rs. 1000 per annum, whichever is lower, to each eligible subscriber account, for a period of 5 years, i.e., from Financial Year 2015-16 to 2019-20, who join the NPS between the period 1st June, 2015 and 31st December, 2015 and who are not members of any statutory social security scheme and who are not income tax payers. However the scheme will continue after this date but Government Co-contribution will not be available.
The Government co-contribution is payable to eligible PRANs by PFRDA after receiving the confirmation from Central Record Keeping Agency at such periodicity as may be decided by PFRDA.
Features of the Atal Pension Yojana
Age of joining and contribution period 4.1 The minimum age of joining APY is 18 years and maximum age is 40 years. The age of exit and start of pension would be 60 years. Therefore, minimum period of contribution by the subscriber under APY would be 20 years or more.
How to apply?
Approach the bank branch/post office where your savings bank account is held or open a savings account if you don’t have one and fill up the APY registration form.
If you are a net savvy user, you can get enrolled for APY through your savings account directly using internet banking and choose auto debit facility for your contributions. The premium will be debited from your age of enrolment till 60 years.
While, leading banks in the country like SBI and ICICI are offering this facility through net banking, this online option is not available with all the banks and you may have to pay a visit to your bank to get enrolled.
How to apply for APY using SBI online
Login to your net banking account. Select ‘Social Security Schemes’ under ‘My Account’ tab. A new page will appear on your screen. Click ‘select scheme’ dropdown and choose Atal Pension Yojana. Then select your savings account number that you want to link with the scheme and submit. As soon as you submit this page, you get an option to select the Customer Identification (CIF) number. Select the CIF generated which is system generated and submit.
After this step, an e-form will appear on your screen. Follow the instructions given on the screen. Your bank details and personal information shared with the bank during the time of opening your account will be picked automatically. However there will be a few tabs seeking additional contact information like email address, Aadhar number which was not made available to the bank while opening the account. It is not mandatory to provide Aadhaar number for opening APY account. It is however desirable to provide Aadhaar Number for proper identification of the subscriber. Below the personal details tab, you’ll get the option of filing the nominee details. After filing the nominee details select the pension details; Pension amount, Contribution Periodicity which can be monthly, quarterly or half yearly and the contribution amount. Fill in all the details carefully and submit and download the acknowledgement.
You may e-subscribe for APY with a few clicks, but there’s no option to unsubscribe for it online. To discontinue APY, you need to visit your bank’s home branch which involves a little paperwork and can be a tiresome task.
Penalties for default
Deduction would be made in the subscribers account for account maintenance charges and other related charges on a periodic basis. Once the account balance in the subscriber’s account becomes zero due to deduction of account maintenance charges, fees and overdue interest, the account would be closed immediately. If there’s a continuous default for 6 months, you pension account will be freezed and if there’s a continuous default for 12 months, the account will get closed and whatever balance is left after the above said deductions will be given to the subscriber.
For delayed contributions a penalty of Rs. 1 per month for contribution of every Rs. 100, or part thereof, for each delayed monthly contributions. This implies:
Rs.1 per month for contribution upto Rs.100 per month.
Rs.2 per month for contribution upto Rs.101 to 500 per month.
Rs.5 per month for contribution between Rs.501 to 1000 per month.
Rs.10 per month for contribution beyond Rs.1001 per month.
Withdrawal procedure from APY
Upon completion of 60 years of age:
After attaining the age of 60 years, you need to get in touch with your respective bank or post office and submit the request for drawing the pension.
However, if in case of subscriber’s death after 60 years, the same amount of monthly pension is payable to spouse (default nominee). Nominee will be eligible for return of pension wealth accumulated till age 60 of the subscriber upon death of both the subscriber and spouse.
Exit before the age of 60 Years:
As per circular dated May 2, 2016 on PFRDA website, voluntary exit in APY is generally not permitted. However in case of exceptional circumstances such as terminal illness, or death of the subscriber it can be allowed. In case a subscriber, who has availed Government co-contribution under APY, along with the net actual accrued income earned on his contributions (after deducting the account maintenance charges). The Government co-contribution, and the accrued income earned on the Government co-contribution, shall not be returned to such subscribers.