National Pension Scheme (NPS) India is a voluntary and long-term investment plan for retirement under the purview of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) and the Central Government. We have covered the following in this article.
The CBDT notifies Form 12BBA, a declaration form, to be submitted by the eligible senior citizens to the specified banks to take relief from filing the ITR.
In Budget 2021, it has been proposed to exempt senior citizens from filing income tax returns if pension income and interest income are their only annual income sources. Section 194P has been newly inserted to enforce that banks deduct tax on senior citizens of more than 75 years of age who have a pension and interest income from the bank.
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 Central Government employees. Central Government employees joining on or after 01-01- 2004 are mandatorily covered under the NPS. 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.
The NPS is a good scheme for anyone who wants to plan for their retirement early on and has a low-risk appetite. A regular pension (income) in your retirement years will no doubt be a boon, especially for those individuals who retire from private-sector jobs.
A systematic investment like this can make a massive difference in your life post-retirement. In fact, salaried people who want to make the most of the 80C deductions can also consider this scheme.
A portion of the NPS goes to equities (this may not offer guaranteed returns). However, it offers returns that are much higher than other traditional tax-saving investments like the PPF.
This scheme has been in effect for over a decade, and so far has delivered 9% to 12% annualised returns. In NPS, you are also allowed the option to change your fund manager if you are not happy with the performance of the fund.
Currently, there is a cap in the range of 75% to 50% on equity exposure for the National Pension Scheme. For government employees, this cap is 50%. In the range prescribed, the equity portion will reduce by 2.5% each year beginning from the year in which the investor turns 50 years of age.
However, for an investor of the age 60 years and above, the cap is fixed at 50%. This stabilizes the risk-return equation in the interest of investors, which means the corpus is somewhat safe from the equity market volatility.
The earning potential of NPS is higher as compared to other fixed-income schemes.
There is a deduction of up to Rs.1.5 lakh to be claimed for NPS for your contribution as well as for the contribution of the employer. 80CCD(1) covers the self-contribution, which is a part of Section 80C.
The maximum deduction one can claim under 80CCD(1) is 10% of the salary, but no more than the said limit. For the self-employed taxpayer, this limit is 20% of the gross income.
Section 80CCD(2) covers the employer’s NPS contribution, which will not form a part of Section 80C. This benefit is not available for self-employed taxpayers.
The maximum amount eligible for deduction will be the lowest of the below:
You can claim any additional self-contribution (up to Rs 50,000) under section 80CCD(1B) as an NPS tax benefit. The scheme, therefore, allows a tax deduction of up to Rs 2 lakh in total.
Contrary to common belief, you cannot withdraw the entire corpus of the NPS scheme after your retirement. You are compulsorily required to keep aside at least 40% of the corpus to receive a regular pension from a PFRDA-registered insurance firm.
The remaining 60% is tax-free now. The latest update from the government says that the entire NPS withdrawal corpus is exempt from tax.
As a pension scheme, it is important for you to continue investing until the age of 60. However, if you have been investing for at least three years, you may withdraw up to 25% for certain purposes.
These include children’s wedding or higher studies, building/buying a house or medical treatment of self/family, among others. You can make a withdrawal up to three times (with a gap of five years) in the entire tenure.
These restrictions are only imposed on tier I accounts and not on tier II accounts. Please scroll down for more details on them.
The NPS invests in different schemes, and the Scheme E of the NPS invests in equity. You can allocate a maximum of 50% of your investment to equities. There are two options to invest in – auto choice or active choice.
The auto choice decides the risk profile of your investments as per your age. For instance, the older you are, the more stable and less risky your investments. The active choice allows you to decide on the scheme and to split your investments.
With NPS, you have the provision to change the pension scheme or the fund manager if you are not happy with their performance. This option is available for both tiers I and II accounts.
Any person fulfilling the following eligibility criteria can join NPS:
The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) regulates the operations of the NPS, and they offer both an online as well as an offline means to open this account.
To open an NPS account offline or manually, you will have to find a PoP – Point of Presence, (it could be a bank too) registered with the PFRDA. Collect a subscriber form from your nearest PoP and submit it along with the KYC papers. Ignore if you are already KYC-compliant with that bank.
Once you make the initial investment (not less than Rs.500 or Rs.250 monthly or Rs. 1,000 annually), the PoP will send you a PRAN – Permanent Retirement Account Number.
This number and the password in your sealed welcome kit will help you operate your account. There is a one-time registration fee of Rs.125 for this process.
You can validate the registration using the OTP sent to your mobile. This will generate a PRAN (Permanent Retirement Account Number), which you can use for NPS login.
The two primary account types under the NPS are tier I and tier II. The former is the default account while the latter is a voluntary addition. The table below explains the two account types in detail.
|Particulars||NPS Tier-I Account||NPS Tier-II Account|
|Withdrawals||As per the rules/regulations||Permitted|
|Tax exemption||Up to Rs 2 lakh p.a.(Under 80C and 80CCD)||1.5 lakh for government employees Other employees-None|
|Minimum NPS contribution for opening an account||Rs.500||Rs.1,000|
|Minimum NPS contribution||Rs 500 per month or Rs 1,000 p.a.||Rs 250|
|Maximum NPS contribution||No limit||No limit|
The Tier-I account is mandatory for everyone who opts for the NPS scheme. The Central Government employees have to contribute 10% of their basic salary. For everyone else, the NPS is a voluntary investment option.
The NPS interest rate depends on the performance of the assets. Thus, the amount of return received upon retirement cannot be determined beforehand. NPS is a market-linked product where you can invest in a mix of equity, government debt, corporate debt, and alternative assets. Once you decide on the asset mix and fund manager, the money is invested in specific schemes investing in these 4 asset classes.
NPS also offer the flexibility to have two accounts – Tier I and Tier II accounts. Below are the returns shown for NPS current interest rate for both tier I and tier II accounts (as of 15th January 2021):
NPS Tier 1 Returns:
|Asset Classes||1-year returns(%)||5-year returns (%)||10-year returns(%)|
NPS Tier 2 Returns:
|Asset Classes||1-year returns(%)||5-year returns (%)||10-year returns(%)|
Calculate the monthly pension and tax benefits you can avail of by investing in NPS through the Cleartax NPS Calculator.
NPS Call Centre Number: 1800 110 708
NPS SMS Number: NPS to 56677
NPS Toll-Free Number For Registered Subscriber (with PRAN): 1800 222 080
Public Provident Fund (PPF) and Tax-saving Fixed Deposits (FD). Here is how they are in comparison to the NPS:
|Investment||Interest||Lock-in period||Risk Profile|
|NPS||9% to 12% (expected)||Till retirement||Market-related risks|
|ELSS||10% to 12% (expected)||3 years||Market-related risks|
|PPF||7.1% (guaranteed)||15 years||Risk-free|
|FD||5% to 7% (guaranteed)||5 years||Risk-free|
The NPS can earn higher returns than the PPF or FDs, but it is not as tax-efficient upon maturity. For instance, you can withdraw up to 60% of your accumulated amount from your NPS account.
Out of this, 20% is taxable. Taxability on NPS withdrawal is subject to change.
The good thing about the National Pension Scheme is that it has equity allocation. However, the equity allocation is still not as much as tax-saving mutual funds.
Equity-Linked Savings Schemes invest primarily in equities and can generate higher returns than the NPS. The lock-in period of tax-saving mutual funds is also lesser than NPS – only three years compared to NPS.
Also, if you are an aggressive risk-seeker, equity exposure by NPS won’t be sufficient in the long run. Since ELSS can meet that requirement, it serves investors with more risk-appetite better.
Step 1: In order to log into your NPS account, you must have a 12-digit Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN). Submit the necessary documentation on the NSDL website or at the Point of Presence (POP) service providers to avail PRAN.
Step 2: Visit the official portal of NSDL CRA.
Step 3: Enter your PRAN, Date of birth, new password, confirm password and enter the captcha. After you have entered all the details, click on the submit button.
Step 4: An IPIN will be generated, which you can use for logging into the NSDL portal.
Step 5: Log in to the NSDL eNPS page and click on ‘Login with PRAN/IPIN’.
Step 6: On the next page, use PRAN and IPIN to sign into your NPS account.
Your Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN) that is offered on registration for the NPS account will be your user ID to log in to the eNPS-NSDL website.
Hence, consider investing in the NPS scheme if the benefits elaborated above match your risk profile and investment goal. However, if you are open to more equity exposure, many mutual funds are catering to investors from diverse backgrounds available.
The monthly pension that you get from NPS will depend on various factors, such as asset classes you invested in, duration of investment and the amount of contribution. You can calculate the monthly pension and tax benefits you can avail of through the Cleartax NPS Calculator.
The NPS interest rate depends on the performance of the assets. Thus, the amount of return received upon retirement cannot be determined beforehand. The interest rates vary from 9% to 12%.
NPS tier I account is mandatory but the subscriber has the option to opt for a Tier II account opening. NPS tier I is the individual pension account while tier II is a voluntary savings facility available as an add-on to a tier I account holder. Tier I accounts have tax benefits but the withdrawable amount is restricted upon certain conditions. Tier II accounts do not have tax benefits but do not have any withdrawal restrictions.
Yes. You can partially withdraw 25% of your contributions after the completion of three years for specific reasons such as illness, education or marriage of children, disability, purchasing property or starting a new venture. You can also prematurely withdraw after the completion of five years. You can prematurely withdraw a maximum of 20% of the corpus as lumpsum and a minimum of 80% of the corpus has to be utilised for purchasing an annuity plan for receiving the pension. If the accumulated corpus is less than Rs.2.5 lakh, the entire corpus is paid as lumpsum to the subscriber.
NPS is a contribution pension scheme. It allows an individual to undertake retirement planning while in employment through the accumulation of a pension corpus. It is mandatory for Central Government employees joining services after 1st January 2004 and it has been adopted by almost all the State Governments for their employees. It is voluntary for individuals working in the private sector. NPS offers the following benefits to subscribers: –
Currently, there are eight pension fund managers in the country.
You can find the list of the top-performing NPS schemes here – https://cleartax.in/s/top-performing-nps-schemes
Any Indian citizen aged between 18-70 years is eligible to subscribe to NPS, including Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and overseas Indians. However, they should be legally competent to execute a contract as per the Indian Contract Act. Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs) are not eligible to subscribe to NPS.
The maturity period of NPS is 60 years. You must contribute to your NPS account till you attain 60 years. However, you can partially or prematurely withdraw a certain percentage of your contributions before attaining 60 years.