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With an intention of providing retirement income to and encouraging savings amongst the citizens, the National Pension System (NPS) was launched. At the time of launch, it was applicable only to government recruits, but now it is available to all citizens.

To encourage people working in the unorganised sector to save, the central government launched the co-contributory pension scheme, whereby the government will contribute a sum of Rs.1,000 to each eligible NPS subscriber who can contribute a minimum of Rs.1,000 and a maximum of Rs.12,000 annually. This scheme was applicable till the FY 2016-17.

For the subscribers of NPS, it mandatory to have a Permanent Retirement Account (PRA) where these savings are reflected. This Permanent Retirement Account Number is commonly referred to as PRAN.

1. Permanent Retirement Account Number – PRAN

Every subscriber is allotted a unique 12 digit Permanent Retirement Benefit Number for a lifetime which is accessible from any location in India.

Types of accounts which can be held under PRAN

  • Tier I Account: This is a non-withdrawable account meant for retirement savings.
  • Tier II Account: This is simply a voluntary savings facility. The subscriber is free to withdraw savings from this account whenever he wishes. No tax benefit is available on this account.

It is mandatory for all NPS subscribers to have a PRAN.

2. Applying for PRAN

The National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) is the Central Record-keeping Agency (CRA) for NPS. Therefore, applications for PRAN are to be made on the NSDL portal.

Once the documents are collated, the subscriber can submit the documents to the Point of Presence – Service Providers (POP-SP). List of relevant POP-SP can be traced here.

Individuals who wish to open a Tier I or Tier II account:

A subscriber will be required to submit a duly filled form along with supporting KYC documents. If an individual wants to open a Tier II account and has an active Tier I account, then the individual must only file a copy of the Tier I PRAN card along with the Tier II activation form.

Corporates

For subscribers belonging to the corporate sector, a duly filled Form CS-S1 needs to be provided to the corporate office.

Minimum contribution required by a subscriber at the time of applying for registration for Tier I account is INR 500 and for Tier II is INR 1,000.

3. Documents Required When Applying for PRAN

  • The application must be filled completely (download the application here);
  • Photograph of the subscriber,
  • Scheme preference details,
  • KYC documentation for identity proof and address proof

4. Notifications Regarding PRAN

When the PRAN is generated, the subscriber is alerted through e-mail and SMS on the email ID and mobile number registered with the CRA. As a security measure, only the last four digits of the account number are disclosed in the communications.

5. Checking the Status of PRAN Application

As a general practice, the Permanent Retirement Account Number is generated and the printed card and dispatched within 20 days from the date of receipt of the duly filled registration form at the CRA – Facilitation Centre.

When a subscriber makes an application for PRA, a 17 digit receipt number is generated and given as an acknowledgement by the POP-SP. The subscriber can check the application status online by giving the acknowledgement number, or with the Nodal Officer.

6. CRA NSDL

CRA is the recordkeeping agency for NSDL. It maintains all the records of subscribers. CRA is the first of its kind venture in India which will carry out the functions of Record Keeping, Administration, and Customer Service for all subscribers under NPS – Lite.

7. Frequently Asked Questions

I. Can CRA reject application forms?
– The POP-SP sends an application to CRA for generation of PRAN. If the information is not complete, the CRA can reject the application and inform POP-SP of the same.

II. Can a subscriber have more than one PRAN at any point of time?
– No. A subscriber can have only one account.

III. Is it possible to open a Tier I and Tier II account at the same time?
– Yes, it is possible to make an application for both the accounts at the same time by filing a composite form.

IV. Is it possible to invest in NPS if one is investing in any other Provident Fund?
– Yes. Investment in NPS is independent of your contribution to any Provident Fund.

V. Are all the forms relating to Permanent Retirement Account Number available at one place?
– Yes, all the forms pertaining to Permanent Retirement Account Number are available on the NSDL portal.

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