What is NPS?

NPS or National Pension System is a Government of India sponsored pension scheme that was first launched in 2004 for Central Government employees. In 2009 it was opened for all Indian Citizens.

PFRDA or Pension Fund Regulatory & Development Authority is the governing body. NPS has a unique unbundled architecture wherein each intermediary, viz. NPS Trust, Pension Fund Manager, Central Recordkeeping Agency, Annuity Service Provider, Point of Presence (PoP that services subscribers), Trustee Bank, Retirement Advisor, Custodian, is assigned a specialized activity by the Regulator. This structure safeguards subscribers’ interest. For a schematic flow diagram showing workings of intermediaries under the NPS structure click here

A NPS subscriber, during his / her working life, voluntarily contributes to his/her pension account to create a retirement corpus. The subscriber benefits from tax savings as well as market linked returns on investments. After retirement, a significant part of the accumulated corpus can be withdrawn as a lumpsum amount, and the balance amount used for starting an annuity plan for regular income thereafter. For the basic schematic flow diagram on working of NPS click here

What is a Defined Contribution Plan?

It is a retirement plan where the pension amount depends on (i) your contribution, (ii) your employer’s contribution, (iii) the returns generated by the asset allocation and (iv) investment manager chosen by you. Employer contributes a fixed amount (function of Basic + Dearness Allowance) towards the pension fund of the employee and the investment risk is borne by the employee.

The National Pension Scheme is an example of a defined contribution plan. An NPS subscriber is required to choose the Pension Fund Manager (PFM) as well as scheme preference from the various options.

What is an Annuity Plan?

An annuity is a contract wherein a company offering annuity accepts an initial deposit and then provides the policyholder regular income stream during his retirement.


An NPS subscriber is required to choose the Pension Fund Manager (PFM) as well as the scheme preference while registering in CRA system under NPS. The subscriber has several options to choose from:


1. Multiple PFMs


1. Investment Options (Auto or Active)

2. Asset Classes

NPS Withdrawal & Annuity options available to Subscribers


Maturity post Retirement Age


Premature Exit


Partial Withdrawal


  • The applicant has to submit duly filled Subscriber Registration Form (CSRF/NRSF/Online data fields) along with the following documents to the Service Provider (PoP)/Online:
    For resident Individuals:

    • One Recent Photograph
    • PAN Card
    • Proof of Address
    • Proof for the Bank Account
  • No, you cannot open multiple PRANS or NPS accounts. In fact, there is no need to open a second account as NPS is portable across sectors and locations.
    However, the subscriber can have a Tier-I and Tier-II accounts

  • A subscriber needs to contribute a minimum of ₹ 1,000 every year in your Tier-I account and ₹ 250 every year in Tier-II. The minimum contribution for opening a Tier-I account is ₹ 500 and for opening Tier-II account it is ₹ 1000.

  • If you do not contribute the minimum amount, your account will be frozen. You can unfreeze the account by visiting the POP and pay the minimum required amount

  • No, the government will not contribute to your NPS account (other than the APY scheme).

  • The money invested in NPS is managed by PFRDA-registered Pension Fund Managers.
    The list of NPS Pension Fund Managers is available in the PFRDA site https://www.pfrda.org.in

  • The NPS offers two choices:

    • Active Choice: This option allows the investor to decide how the money should be invested in different assets.
    • Auto choice or lifecycle fund: This is the default option which invests money automatically in line with the age of the subscriber.

    Investment Choice & Asset allocation pattern
    • Active Choice
      1. Equity (E) – Maximum 75%
      2. Corporate Bonds (C) – Upto 100%
      3. Government Securities (G) - Upto 100%
      4. Alternate Assets (A) – Maximum 5%
    • Auto Choice
      • Conservative Life Cycle Fund (LC25)
      • Moderate Life Cycle Fund (LC50) – Default
      • Aggressive Life Cycle Fund (LC75)

  • Yes, you can change your investment choices and asset allocation 4 times during a financial year for both Tier-I and Tier-II accounts.

  • Yes, you can change your pension fund manager once every financial year.

  • Yes, you can select different pension fund managers and investment options for your NPS Tier I and Tier II accounts.

    • An employee's own contribution is eligible for a tax deduction --up to 10 per cent of the salary (basic plus DA) - under Section 80CCD(1) of the Income Tax Act within the overall ceiling of Rs 1.5 lakh allowed under Section 80C and Section 80CCE.
    • The employer's contribution to NPS is exempted under Section 80CCD(2), which is subjected to an aggregated limit of ₹ 7.5 lakhs of contribution made towards NPS, recognized provident fund and approved superannuation fund
    • Moreover, individuals can claim an additional deduction of up to Rs 50,000 under Section 80CCD (1B), which is in addition to Rs 1.5 lakh permitted under Section 80C.
    • A self-employed person can also contribute 20% of his gross income under Section 80CCD (1) in NPS.

  • A subscriber can withdraw from NPS in the following circumstances/conditions:

    • Partial Withdrawal - after completion of 3 years subscriber can withdraw 25% of his/her own contributions for specific reasons viz illness, disability, education or marriage of children, purchasing property, starting a new venture. A subscriber can partially withdraw upto a maximum of 3 times during his/her entire tenure in NPS.
    • Premature Withdrawal - after completion of 5 years or before completion of 3 years (if subscriber joined NPS after attaining 60 years of age), subscriber can withdraw maximum 20% of the corpus as lumpsum and minimum 80% of the corpus has to be utilized for purchasing an annuity plan for receiving pension. If the accumulated corpus is less than ₹2.5 lakh, the entire corpus is paid as lumpsum to the subscriber.
    • Normal Withdrawal – on completion of 60 years of age (if subscriber has joined NPS before 60 years of age) or after completion of 3 years (if subscriber has joined NPS after 60 years of age), subscriber can withdraw maximum 60% of the corpus as lumpsum and minimum 40% of the corpus must be utilized for purchasing an annuity plan for receiving the pension. If the accumulated corpus is less than ₹5 lakhs, the entire corpus is paid as lumpsum to the subscriber

    Subscriber also has the following withdrawal option: -

    • Continue in NPS till the age of 75 years or exit any time after such continuance before 75 years.
    • While exiting from NPS, subscriber can;
      • defer receiving the lumpsum (60% corpus) till the age of 75 years or withdraw the same in instalments till 75 years
      • defer Annuity purchase (40% corpus) till the age of 75 years.

    In case of unfortunate event of death of a subscriber, the nominee/legal heir can withdraw the entire accumulated corpus. The nominee / family members of the deceased subscriber can also purchase annuity, if they so desire.

  • If an NPS All Citizen subscriber does not exit from NPS at 60 years of age, the account will automatically be continued up to 75 years of age. Subscriber can exercise the option of normal exit from NPS at any point of time he/she wishes after 60 years of age. At the age of 75 years, the account must be closed mandatorily.

  • If you discontinue your investment, your account will be frozen. You can reactivate the account only if you make the minimum contribution required.

  • If the subscriber dies before 60 years, the entire accumulated wealth would be paid to the nominee/legal heir of the subscriber. The nominee can also purchase an annuity plan with the accumulated pension amount from a NPS registered annuity provider

  • Requests for withdrawals from NPS can be initiated by the subscriber by login to his/her Pension Account or by submitting a physical form to the service provider (PoP) directly along with the specified documents. For more details, please refer https://www.pfrda.org.in/index1.cshtml?lsid=220

  • You have to submit the following documents along with the withdrawal forms:

    • Original PRAN Card / notarized affidavit in case if the original is not submitted.
    • Photo ID proof
    • Residence proof
    • Cancelled cheque /bank certificate/copy of the bank passbook with photograph and all the other details like IFS Code, Account no, Branch address and Code.
    • Direct credit mandate
    • Annuity application form duly filled and signed by subscriber • Death certificate in original, if the claim is for the benefits arising out of the death of the subscriber
    • Legal heir certificate wherever applicable
    • Relieving letter and NOC, if applicable.

  • An annuity provides a regular income (it could be monthly, quarterly, annual, etc) at a specified rate for a specified period chosen by the subscriber. In NPS, a subscriber must use at least 40 per cent of the corpus to buy an annuity. It means the person can pay the money to an Annuity Service Provider (ASP) and choose an annuity option to ensure a regular income after retirement.

  • Presently the following ASPs are empanelled with PFRDA for providing pension:

    • Tata AIA Life Insurance Company Limited
    • SBI Life Insurance Co. Ltd
    • Life Insurance Corporation of India
    • Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. Ltd
    • ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co. Ltd
    • HDFC Life Insurance Co Ltd.
    • IndiaFirst Life Insurance Co Ltd
    • Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance Co. Ltd
    • Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Co Ltd.
    • Canara HSBC Oriental bank of Commerce Life Insurance co Ltd.
    • Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance Co Ltd.
    • Max Life Insurance Company Limited
    • PNB Metlife India Insurance Company Limited
    • Aditya Birla SunLife Insurance Company Limited

  • The broad variants of annuity plans offered by the ASPs are as under:

    Pension (Annuity) payable for life at a uniform rate to the annuitant only.

    • Pension (Annuity) payable for 5, 10, 15 or 20 years certain and thereafter till the annuitant is alive.
    • Pension (Annuity) payable for life increasing at a simple rate of 3% p.a.
    • Pension (Annuity) for life with a provision of 50% of the annuity payable to spouse for upon death of the annuitant.
    • Pension (Annuity) for life with a provision of 100% of the annuity payable to spouse upon death of the annuitant.
    • Pension (Annuity) for life with return of purchase price on death of the annuitant.
    • Pension (Annuity) for life with a provision of 100% of the annuity payable to spouse upon death of the annuitant and return of purchase price on death of the spouse.
    • The pension amount would vary based on the annuity plan and the ASP chosen by the subscriber.

  • The annuity income will be added to your income and taxed as per the income tax slab applicable to you.

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