New Delhi: Nearly 80 million Indian workers with no social security are ready to contribute to a retirement savings system, presenting a pension-market opportunity potentially worth Rs12 trillion ($280 billion) in 12 years, according to a report by research firm IIMS Dataworks.
That’s four times the number of those now saving for their retirement in life insurance and other financial products, said the report, based on the Invest India Dataworks Income and Savings Survey of 2007 conducted by the firm.
India has proposed a New Pension Scheme (NPS) for the workforce not covered by a formal retirement plan, but its creation has been stalled by Left parties distrustful of private pension-fund managers the scheme entails.
“If latent demand for pensions from these groups were fully harnessed, Indian workers would contribute an estimated Rs57,000 crore to the NPS in the first full year of operations based on differential capacity to pay by different income groups,” said the report.
Up to 20% of the 80 million workers ready to contribute to the NPS are “prime prospects” likely to start saving immediately, and a participation rate at this level would produce Rs12 trillion in the 12th year of operations, the firm said.
In 2007, India had a nearly 440-million-strong workforce, an estimated 321 million of whom held down regular jobs, according to the research firm. But only one in nine members of the paid workforce had requirement income guarantees.
India has one of the world’s youngest populations with rising incomes and ability to save. “The lesson from other economies is that one has to put in place some kind of social security,” said D.K. Joshi, director and principal economist at ratings company Crisil Ltd. “Demographically, we are in a favourable situation and we should take advantage of it.”