The National Pension Scheme is a social security initiative by the Central Government. This pension programme is open to employees from the public, private and even the unorganised sectors except those from the armed forces. The scheme encourages people to invest in a pension account at regular intervals during the course of their employment. After retirement, the subscribers can take out a certain percentage of the corpus. As an NPS account holder, you will receive the remaining amount as a monthly pension post your retirement. Earlier, the NPS scheme covered only the Central Government employees. Now, however, the PFRDA has made it open to all Indian citizens on a voluntary basis. The NPS scheme holds immense value for anyone who works in the private sector and requires a regular pension after retirement. The scheme is portable across jobs and locations, with tax benefits under Section 80C and Section 80CCD.
NPS started with the decision of the Government of India to stop defined benefit pensions for all its employees who joined after 1 April 2004. While the scheme was initially designed for government employees only, it was opened up for all citizens of India between the age of 18 and 65 in 2009, for OCI card holders and PIO’s in October 2019. On August 26, 2021, PFRDA increased the entry age for the National Pension System (NPS) from 65 years to 70 years. As per the revised norms, any Indian Citizen, resident or non-resident and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) between the age of 65-70 years can join NPS and continue or defer their NPS Account up to the age of 75 years. It is administered and regulated by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA). On 10 December 2018, the Government of India made NPS an entirely tax-free instrument in India where the entire corpus escapes tax at maturity; the 40% annuity also became tax-free. NPS is limited to EEE, to the extent of 60%. 40% has to be compulsorily used to purchase an annuity, which is taxable at the applicable tax slab.