Employment is a time and age bound activity performed by individuals. While an individual is employed, he/she is advised to save some amount such that during the time he/she is unable to work (when one attains the age of retirement or when an individual is not physically and mentally able to work to earn money to support oneself and his/her responsibilities), he/she would get some amount regularly to sustain a healthy living. This is the basic principle of the concept of a pension. A pension is a social benefit which needs to be extended to every individual of any country in order to lead a dignified life after the retiring age.
What is the National Pension Scheme?
National Pension Scheme is a Government of India approved pension scheme under the Retirement Plan extended for all Indian citizens within the age group of 18 to 60 years. This contribution based National Pension Scheme is considered to be the most economical pension scheme among all such schemes including Employees Provident Fund (EPF) scheme, and Public Provident Fund (PPF) Scheme of the government of India. The main question comes to all NRIs is can NRI invest in NPS and here are the objectives of launching the National Pension Scheme include:
- Providing a regular income during the old age of the individuals
- Extending financial security to all individuals during the old age (after attaining retirement age)
- Providing a reasonable return linked to market performance in the long-term
National Pension Scheme has been launched by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) in the year 2004. Any individual registered under the National Pension Scheme is allotted a unique Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN). This individual needs to make a minimum yearly contribution of INR 6000 either contributed as a one-time payment or in various installments of not less than INR 500 spread across the year.
The National Pension Scheme is further categorized under the following two heads:
- Tier I Account: This type of National Pension Scheme Account has a limitation on withdrawal which restricts the individual holding the account to withdraw a maximum of twenty percent of the investment prior to attaining the age of 60. The remaining eighty percent of the investment needs to be used to buy an annuity scheme from an approved licensed life insurer. The same individual can withdraw 60 percent of the investment after he/she attains the age of 60 while the remaining 40 percent needs to be used towards purchasing an annuity scheme.
- Tier-II Account: This type of National Pension Scheme Account is a voluntary savings account from where the individual can withdraw any amount of money from his/her investments whenever required.
National Pension Scheme for NRI
Many of you have a question that can NRI invest in NPS? Yes, even a Non-Resident Indian can open an account under the National Pension Scheme in order to avail the benefits of such a scheme. The eligibility criteria for Non-Resident Indians who wish to open an account under the National Pension Scheme include:
Can NRI Invest in NPS (National Pension Scheme)?
Non-Resident Indians can easily invest in the National Pension Scheme. Each individual investor in the National Pension Scheme is given a unique 12 digit Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN). The contributions towards a National Pension Scheme Account operated by a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) needs to come either from an NRE (Non-Resident Rupee) or an NRO (Non-Resident Ordinary Rupee) account. The minimum contribution when an NRI opens a National Pension Scheme Account is INR 500. The NRI further needs to invest a minimum of INR 6000 in a year either as a one-time payment or in installments of not less than INR 500.
National Pension Scheme Accounts can be operated from any location within India. The NRI’s do have the option of holding either of the following two types of National Pension Scheme Account:
- Tier I Account: under which the investor is allowed to withdraw a maximum of 25 percent of the investor’s own contribution, subjected to the exit and withdrawal regulations
- Tier II Account: This account basically is an add-on account to the Tier I Account from where the investor can withdraw as much amount (depending on their investments) and whenever they wish to withdraw and operate it as a savings facility.
Where Will The Funds Contributed by NRIs in NPS be invested?
The contributions made by the NRI’s in the National Pension Scheme are invested in a highly diversified portfolio which includes asset classes such as corporate bonds, government securities, and equities. The NRI investor is further given the option to specify the ratio of funds which would be allocated to different options of investments. Depending on the risk appetite of the investors, the scheme can facilitate the investment of almost 85 percent of the invested amounts in equity. The two investment options are given to the NRI’s include:
- Active Choice: Under this option, the NRI decide the asset class where investments would be done and in what ratio
- Auto Choice: Under this option, the investments would be done by the regulating authority of the fund on behalf of the NRI depending on his/her age.