Lok Sabha passes Pension Bill: 10 key facts

The Lok Sabha today passed the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill 2011, which aims to create a regulator for the pension sector and extend the coverage of pension benefits to more people. The Pension Bill has been hanging fire since 2005 when it was first introduced in the Parliament. It was again reintroduced in 2011. Replying to the debate on Pension Bill, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said 26 states have joined NPS and it would help extend pension benefits more people.
Here are the salient features of the bill: 

1.The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill 2011 will give statutory powers Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) which was established in August 2003 as a regulator for the pension sector. 

2.The passage of the bill could see pure pension products coming into the market. At present most of the pure pension products available in the market are linked with insurance coverage. 

3.The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill 2011 seeks to promote the pension sector by establishing a regulator as India does not have a universal social security system. 

4.The Bill allows 26 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in pension funds 

5.The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill 2011 was reintroduced in the Lok Sabha in 2011 by the then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and it was subsequently referred to a standing committee. 

6.PFRDA's National Pension System (NPS) was made mandatory for all new government recruits, except armed forces, joining after January 1, 2004.

7.The NPS was later opened up to all Indian citizens from 2009 on a voluntary basis. The NPS allows its subscribers to invest in stock markets but there is a cap on equity investment. 

8.The NPS also offers subscribers the option of selecting the fund managers of their choice. The pension bill could help channelize funds into building long-term assets for the country, including the infrastructure sector. 

9.The government wants to ease rules for insurance and pension sectors to allow them to invest in infrastructure, where it is seeking $1 trillion investment till 2017.

10.In 2005, the government had earlier introduced a pension bill but it lapsed as the Lok Sabha's term got over before the legislation could be passed.


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