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Atal Pension Yojana has emerged as the most popular social security scheme under the National Pension System with over 2.8 crore subscribers, mainly from the non-metro centres.

Out of 4.2 crore National Pension System (NPS) subscribers, over 66 per cent or 2.8 crore opted for the APY at the end of 2020-21, says the annual report of the National Pension Systems Trust (NPS Trust).

The State Government Scheme ranks second with 11 per cent share, while the central autonomous bodies (CAB) continued to account for the least number of subscribers of NPS with a share of 1 per cent, followed by state autonomous bodies (SAB) with a share of 2 per cent.

“APY is the most subscribed plan among non-metro subscribers. This also reflects the demographic pattern in the country, where more unorganized population segments reside in the non metros, thus accessing the NPS self-initiated plan,” the report said.

Total assets under management (AUM) for the National Pension System schemes saw a year-on-year growth of over 38 per cent, and stood at Rs 5.78 lakh crore at the end of the year, the report said, adding as of fiscal 2021, NPS had 4.2 crore registered users or popularly known as subscribers.

The National Pension System is a defined contribution retirement savings scheme administered and regulated by Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).

APY also dominated in terms of growth rate of the subscriber base, with a gain of 33 per cent on-year in fiscal year ending March 2021, followed by the all-citizen model (32 per cent).

The Atal Pension Yojana was launched by the Government of India in May 2015. This scheme is open to all citizens who are in the age group of 18-40 years.

Under the scheme, a subscriber would receive a guaranteed pension of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 per month after attaining the age of 60 years, depending upon his contributions.

After the death of the subscribers, same pension amount would be paid to his or her spouse. On the demise of both subscriber and spouse, the accumulated pension wealth of the subscriber would be returned to the nominee.

Non-metros hade 3.77 crore subscribers or about 89 per cent of the total 4.24 crore NPS subscribers.

“Non-metros subscribers have grown by 72.34 lakh in fiscal 2021 (growth of 24 per cent over one-year) compared with metros subscribers which have grown by 4.87 lakh to 35.78 lakh in fiscal 2021 (growth of 16 per cent over one-year),” it said.

The report said that age-wise analysis of NPS subscribers show that about 85 per cent were in the 18-40-year age bracket, a jump of 200 basis points (bps) from their share in fiscal 2019-20. Within this young subscriber base, the 18-25-age group represented the largest share at 30 per cent.

There were 2.47 crore male subscribers as of end-fiscal 2021, up from 2.02 crore and 1.61 crore, respectively, in fiscals 2020 and 2019. Female subscribers totaled 1.77 crore in fiscal 2021 up from 1.43 crore and 1.12 crore, respectively in fiscals 2020 and 2019.

Though the male subscriber continues to dominate the overall subscriber base, female subscriber grew at faster pace at 24 per cent in 2020-21 and 28 per cent in 2019-20 compared to 22 per cent and 25 per cent for males in the respective periods.

National Pension System Trust was established by PFRDA as per the provisions of the Indian Trusts Act of 1882 for taking care of the assets and funds under the NPS in the best interest of the subscribers.

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