The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is thinking in terms of allowing partial withdrawal to the subscriber from the National Pension Scheme (NPS), even before maturity. At present as per the PFRDA Ordinance, no withdrawal is allowed before maturity ie. before reaching the age of 60 years. The Parliamentary Standing Committee had earlier recommended that withdrawal should be allowed even before maturity. The NPS is reported to have about 53 lakh subscribers and a corpus of about Rs. 35,000 crore.
While the PFRDA under the Ministry of Finance is for shifting the subscribers of EPFO to the NPS, the Labour Ministry which operates the EPF is against the same. However, the Finance Ministry headed by P.Chidambaram is putting pressure, so that EPF corpus of lakhs of crores of rupees can be made available to the Fund Managers of NPS to be utilised for business purposes. The argument of the PFRDA is that while there is assured returns for EPF subscribers, the returns from the NPS is more. This is only a fallacy. The returns from NPS is volatile and it can be reduced also. It depends upon the market. The hard earned savings of the workers can not be put at the mercy of the corporates and the business sharks. Though the present Fund Managers are mainly PSUs like LIC and SBI, there is every chance that the private insurers, Mutual Funds etc. may gain access in future to the Fund. Then it will, no doubt be, a disaster. Hence the workers are completely against putting the Funds of EPF at NPS. This proposal is not acceptable to the workers. It has got to be resisted and defeated.