NSDL launches Central Recordkeeping Agency
NSDL which is a securities depository holding more than 80% of the dematerialised securities in India has established a Central Recordkeeping Agency (CRA) for the New Pension System (NPS) on behalf of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA). Honourable Union Finance Minister Shri P. Chidambaram launched this system today, August 29, 2008 in the presence of Shri D. Swarup, Chairman, PFRDA, Shri C. B. Bhave, Chairman, SEBI, and Dr. R. H. Patil, Chairman, NSDL.
NPS was introduced by Government of India for its new employees (except the Armed Forces) w.e.f. January 1, 2004. The CRA is a first of its kind of venture in India and is critical to the successful operationalization of the NPS. Under the NPS, each new government employee will open an account with CRA which will be identified through unique Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN). In this system, deductions will be made from employee’s salary on monthly basis and equal amount of contribution will be made by the Government. The amount will get invested through PFRDA appointed Pension Fund Managers (PFMs). The accumulated amount will be reflected in employee’s Permanent Retirement Account while employee is working and shall use the accumulations at retirement to procure a pension for the rest of the life. Subscribers in this system shall enjoy certain facilities and rights including portability across jobs and locations, choices of selection of Pension Funds and investment schemes, freedom to switch between service providers and nationwide access.
CRA, as envisaged in NPS, will play a crucial role in ensuring the operational efficiency of the system.
The main functions and responsibilities of the CRA include:
Recordkeeping, administration and customer service functions for all subscribers of the NPS.
Issue of unique PRAN to each subscriber, maintaining a database of all PRANs issued and recording transactions relating to each subscriber’s PRAN.
Acting as an operational interface between PFRDA and other NPS intermediaries such as Pension Funds, Trustee Bank, Annuity Service Providers etc.
CRA will monitor Subscriber contributions and instructions and transmit the information to the relevant Pension Funds and schemes as per the guidelines laid down by PFRDA. CRA will provide annual consolidated Statement of Transactions to each Subscriber and discharge such other duties and functions as may be determined by the guidelines, directions and regulations issued by the PFRDA from time to time. Being centralised in nature, CRA shall harness the benefits of lower transaction costs by centralizing the administration process and economies of scale with a large base of Subscribers. The NPS Subscribers will be able to interact with the CRA through the internet and toll free telephone. Internet or telephone access to CRA will be protected by issuance of a password (I-PIN for internet access and a T-PIN for access through telephone) by CRA to each Subscriber.
CRA is also providing electronic interconnectivity to PFRDA, other linked entities like Trustee Bank, Pension Funds and Annuity Providers. CRA will strive for a seamless and error-free system enabling the Subscriber to have a nation-wide access to the system.