All you wanted to know about New Pension Scheme

by Manikaran Singal on August 11, 2012 Total Views: (111)


New pension scheme, National pension scheme, National pension system or whatever name you call it with is all the same. New pension scheme is a defined contribution scheme started by Government of India for the central government employees excepting the Armed forces with effect from 01 January ’2004; gradually state governments also adopted this system. Defined contribution means that unlike the old pension system, here the employee and employer (government) will make a defined contribution/deposit in the scheme (which is 10% of basic+DA) and at the time of retirement the pension/annuity can be purchased with the accumulated corpus in this account.

With Effect from 1st may’2009, NPS is available to all citizens of India who can contribute on voluntary basis.

NPS is a good but not so popular product. As it is a government’s initiative, the snail pace of its popularity is quite obvious.

Basic Features of New Pension scheme

  1. NPS is regulated by PFRDA. As SEBI is for Stock markets and Corporates, RBI is for banking, IRDA is for Insurance companies…the same way PFRDA (Pension Funds Regulatory and Development Authority) is for NPS. So don’t confuse this with another insurance company’s product.
  2. It is Open to All citizens of India in the age bracket of 18 – 60 years.
  3. Minimum contribution required is Rs 6000/- annually, with no limit on number of transactions (there are charges per Transaction).
  4. Minimum Transactions amount required is Rs 500/- .
  5. As this is strictly a pension product, so subscriber compulsorily has to Purchase life annuity with some specified restrictions/flexibility.
  6. It is very lost cost product. With a fund management charge of just 0.0009%, this product is perhaps world’s lowest cost pension scheme.
  7. Investment can be made in different Asset classes through 6 fund managers.

Working mechanism of new pension Scheme

It is very simple. It requires regular yearly/monthly/quarterly contribution from the subscriber and on maturity subscriber has to transfer the specified minimum corpus to any IRDA regulated Life insurance company to Purchase Life Annuity and balance can be withdrawn in Lump sum.

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Types of Accounts in New pension Scheme

TIER 1 – This is the First account that subscriber has to opt for. Withdrawal in this account is permitted as per the above chart.

TIER 2 – This account can be opened only after TIER 2 account. Anytime withdrawal is permitted through this account. You may also transfer the funds from TIER 2 a/c to TIER 1 but not the other way round.

Investment style and Asset allocation in New pension scheme

Pension Portfolio Fund Managers

Right now there are 6 fund managers appointed under “All Citizens account” category. Subscriber can chose any of these for his investments. He’s also free to switch the funds from one fund manager to other without any extra charge.

  • ICICI Prudential Pension Fund Management Company Limited
  • IDFC Pension Fund Management Company Limited
  • Kotak Mahindra Pension Fund Limited
  • Reliance Capital Pension Fund Limited
  • SBI Pension Funds Limited
  • UTI Retirement Solutions Limited

Please note that the term of these fund managers are going to be over in October’12 and then they will be Re appointed by PFRDA as per the new criteria laid.

Understanding ECG

Every portfolio fund manager has to manage the money in 3 separate accounts having separate asset profile. Here E stands for Equity, C stands for Corporate Bonds and G stands for Government securities.

Asset Allocation

There are 2 choices available for subscribers.

Active choice – Investors are free to allocate there money the way they want among ECG, but not more than 50% in E Asset class.

Auto choice – Here the money will be transferred in a Lifecycle fund which has a predefined portfolio composition as per the age.

Taxation aspects in New Pension scheme

Taxation aspect is very interesting to understand and if used properly it will help in decent reduction in tax payment.

This is covered under Section 80CCD of income tax act, which says

Deduction in respect of contribution made by individual in the previous year to his account under a notified pension scheme, is allowed in computation of his total income –

a)      In the case of employee 10% of his salary in the previous year.

b)      In any other case 10% of his Gross Total Income in the Previous Year.

It is further clarified that the aggregate limit of deduction under this section along with Section 80C, 80CCC shall not in any case exceed Rs 1 lakh.

Where the central government or any other employer makes any contribution to the account of employee for the pension scheme, the assesse shall also be allowed a deduction in the computation of his total income of the whole of the amount contributed by the central government or any other employer, provided it does not increase 10% of his salary (basic +DA)

Any contribution made by subscriber in NPS a/c in a financial year will be eligible for tax benefits up to Rs 1 lakh u/s 80CCD, subject to overall Limit of Section 80C.

Further as per Section 80CCD (2) of income tax act says W.E.F 1st Apr, 2012 up to 10% of the salary (basic and dearness allowance) of employers Contribution can be deducted as ‘Business Expense’ from their Profit & Loss Account.

Thus from now onwards if you can negotiate with your employer on salary break up or increment at the time of appraisal, you may include NPS contribution by employer in your total CTC. This will help you in significant reduction in tax payment. You can make use of this change from your Retirement planning purpose.

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Pros and Cons of New Pension scheme

Pros

  1. Low cost structure has definitely made it a product to consider.
  2. Additional Tax saving u/s 80CCD (2) on employer’s contribution is another attractive option.
  3. Flexibility on part of investors on asset selection and choice of 6 fund managers with good track record.
  4. This account is completely portable. Unlike other products like PPF/EPF where you have to get the account transferred the time you change your job to some other place, this account is accessible everywhere in country with the same account number.

 Cons

  1. Taxation on withdrawal at maturity is the biggest disadvantage in choosing this product.
  2. Data on performance of fund managers and respective schemes is not readily available.
  3. Restriction on equity Investment to 50% may be unacceptable to some.
  4. Not so flexible in pre closure or prematurity withdrawal.

Should you invest in New pension Scheme?

The low cost structure and now the tax exemption on employer’s contribution have made this product a very attractive one. Otherwise all other features can be brought in the portfolio through other products with proper investment planning.

Tax at maturity a big drawback in this. But still, I feel that if one is a disciplined investor and has done proper Retirement planning then he may include some portion of his investments into this. Yes, if government makes the withdrawal at maturity tax free, New pension scheme will become a must buy option.

Manikaran Singal

Founder and Chief Financial Planner at Good Moneying Financial Solutions
He’s MBA ( Finance) gold medalist, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and SEBI Registered Investment adviser. An ex banker , having a decade long experience in financial services industry he manages clients across the globe. He’s an active member of Financial Planners’ Guild India ( An association of practicing SEBI registered Investment advisers). He's very passionate in the financial planning space and with a view to spread financial literacy among masses he writes blog articles and also contributes and quoted in various media publications like Money control, Indian express, Business Bhaskar, Dainik Bhaskar, Money mantra magazine etc. He also delivers training on Various personal finance topics to various corporate houses. You may get in touch with him at info@goodmoneying.com

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Rajesh Singla August 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Good article.

Thumbs down to the NPS because of 50% cap, non flexibility and taxation at maturity..Big NO for any investor.

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Ravi November 4, 2012 at 6:37 am

very informative post.

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Shaju Joseph January 28, 2013 at 1:21 pm

It is actually a very good Retirement Plan for those who wish to get some pension even if their employer is not providing. Investors having investment in share market may find it non-attractive as they expect more returns and more flexibility in premature withdrawals.

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Manikaran Singal January 29, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Shaju, it is indeed a good option for retirement planning. Looking at the changes in the pension market and other costly products this product will definitely earn good word in coming days. And also by investing in NPS one can satisfy his desire to have decent equity exposure and that too at less cost.

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Vaibhav Saran April 7, 2013 at 5:24 am

I transfer 1000/- from my “State Bank fund transfer service” under “NPS Contribution” on 4th Apr 2013 to my “NPS account” but NPS account not showing effective till today (7th Apr 2013). Any idea how much time does it take? SBI customer care says to talk to your SBI branch whether I live far from my branch. Any idea?

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Manikaran Singal April 10, 2013 at 9:23 am

I think is should take the normal time that any NEFT or fund transfer takes. You better get in touch with your bank branch.

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ramana April 17, 2013 at 9:05 am

it does take a week generally. I transfer from SBI all the time and there are no issues. Check it after 10 – 15 working days. You can check your PRAN account online at the CRA-NSDL website.

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Manikaran Singal April 22, 2013 at 4:20 am

That’s strange ramana. I mean a week is a very long time for this kind of transaction. And just for information and readers’ knowledge sake, what NAV gets alloted to the investor, the day of transfer or day of reciept?

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Jista Sirfoma July 19, 2014 at 2:24 pm

It takes up to 20 days sometimes even. And the NAV is always of the day of receipt by the NPS. And by some strange co-incidence, that NAV is always HIGHER than the NAV of the date of transfer. Someone should investigate this…

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Vaibhav Saran July 23, 2014 at 7:13 am

I don’t recommended anyone to invest their valuable money in NPS. Their process is pure sarkari. My 13,000/- are still stuck in the scheme. Govt officials are not a bit cooperative. That was my mistake that I could not made payment on time and my account got freezed. After that I tried two times to un-freeze it but they did not cooperate.

I live in Delhi but my account was opened at my native Hardoi (A city near lucknow in UP). I put 12,000/- at the time of opening but next year due to cash-crunch I could not deposited on time. When I visited that branch during Diwali 2013, no one was able to cooperate there. All I was looking like “Musaddilal of Office Office”, from one desk to other, other desk to other. Customercare told me to fill Form “NPS-UOS-S10A-Tier-I” from their website and submit it with amount to POPSP at the office. I was surprised to know that no one was even know what is “POPSP”. All they had to say that Scheme was started by a Post Master on a huge level. Many people’s money is also stuck in the scheme. Delhi office does not cooperate with them bla bla bla.

And now I think their customer care is also abandoned. No one picks the call. I tried few months before near 14-15 times. Finally it was picked by a man who was not talking like a customer care representative like before. He only told me how much I have to pay to unfreeze the account, nothing else. I visited this Holi also, but their behaviour was same. No one still know process to unfreeze it.

If anyone of you know how can I get my money back must share here. Also if I can get it back from their New Delhi headquarter, that would be great. Me, my borther, my few friends all are looking for a solution :(

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Padmini August 3, 2014 at 7:20 am

Is NPS contribution cover under section 80C? As government has increased the 80C limit in recent budget, I want to know which avenues can I invest in under 80C. Thanks for your help.

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Manikaran Singal August 5, 2014 at 10:07 am

Yes NPS contribution is a part of Section 80C investments. You can also deposit in ELSS Mutual funds, PPF, 5 year bank Fixed deposit. pay life insurance premium etc. to take section 80C tax benefit. Your home loan principal repayment and also children tuition fees also comes under this section

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