The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority of India (PFRDA) has allowed subscribers of the National Pension System (NPS) for a partial withdrawal of funds from their NPS accounts for meeting expenses related to the treatment of COVID-19, which has infected more than 6,000 people and claimed lives of 199 people in India so far.
Employees working in central, state government establishments, as well as corporates across India, who are members of the NPS, can avail this benefit.
"In view of the decision of the Government of India, which has declared COVID-19 as a pandemic, it has been decided to declare COVID-19 as a critical illness which is life threatening in nature," PFRDA said in a circular addressed to all stakeholders and subscribers under the NPS.
The pension regulatory body said that partial withdrawals shall be permitted for treatment of the illness. This would cover illness of subscriber, his legally wedded spouse, children, including a legally adopted child or dependent parents, the circular said.
"The other terms and conditions as prescribed under regulation 8 of the PFRDA (Exits and withdrawals under NPS) Regulations, 2015 and amendments thereto shall continue to be applicable regarding defining of limits and frequencies," it added.
However, this benefit will not be available to the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) subscribers. "We would like to clarify that presently, there is no provision for subscribers to make partial withdrawals under APY," PFRDA added.
PFRDA runs both the flagship pension schemes -- APY and NPS. While the NPS is for the central, state governments, autonomous bodies and corporates, APY is mainly meant to cater to the pension needs of those employed in the unorganised sector.
As on March 31, the total number of subscribers under NPS and APY stood at 3.46 crore. Of this, the number of APY subscribers were 2.11 crore, according to the PFRDA data.
Earlier on March 29, the Labour Ministry had allowed over 6 crore subscribers of Employees' Provident Fund Scheme (EPFO) to withdraw an amount not exceeding their three months' basic pay and dearness allowance from their EPF account in view of the lockdown to fight coronavirus.
By Chitranjan Kumar with PTI inputs