Despite the Covid-induced economic turbulence, the Centre-backed National Pension System's corporate subscriber base has registered a substantial growth during Q1FY21.
In an interaction with IANS, the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority's Chairman Supratim Bandyopadhyay cited the extension granted by the Centre for making investments till July 31 under 80C as the main reason for the rise.
Traditionally, the deadline for making such investments is till March 31 for the financial year ending on the same date, but this time the Centre extended this period till July 31 on account of the Covid-19 outbreak.
As per IT Act's 80C, income tax payers can avail deduction of up to Rs 1.5 lakh by investing in stipulated instruments like NPS.
The NPS was initially notified for Central government employees joining service on or after January 1, 2004 and subsequently adopted by almost all state governments for their employees.
It was extended to all citizens of India on a voluntary basis from May 2009 and to corporates in December 2011 and to Non-Resident Indians in October 2015.
"Taxpayers, who missed the March 31 deadline, made use of this deadline extension," Bandyopadhyay told IANS.
"Corporates believe that NPS provides better returns than other instruments and this coupled with the extension given to tax payers pushed private subscriptions."
The data furnished by PFRDA showed an addition of 1.03 lakh individual subscribers from the private sector.
Besides, 206 corporates were enrolled during Q1FY21, resulting in a total of 10.13 lakh corporate subscribers in the age group of 18 to 65 years.
Amongst the 102,975 subscribers registered, 43,000 have routed their subscription through their employer or corporate while the rest have voluntarily enrolled in the scheme.
Furthermore, Bandyopadhyay said the onset of Covid-19, has led employers to adopt deeper measures to ensure adequate support to employees in terms of their financial well-being.
"We have also adopted various proactive measures for ensuring ease in the onboarding process via online and offline methods," he said.
"UIDAI has approved bank's APY onboarding by using customers' Aadhaar numbers."
As on April 30, the total number of subscribers under NPS and Atal Pension Yojana has crossed 3.46 crore and the Assets under Management (AUM) has grown to Rs 4,83,024 crore.
More than 68 lakh government employees have been enrolled under NPS and 22.60 lakh subscribers have subscribed to NPS in the private sector with 7,616 entities registered as corporates.