New Delhi: Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), which oversees the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) and National Pension Scheme (NPS), said the subscriber base of the two schemes had crossed 18 million as of 31 October.

“We have seen a growth of 26.1 lakh in the subscriber base in the first seven months of the current year. In the whole of last year, we had seen a growth of 32.28 lakh. So, it compares well. As on 31 October, the subscriber base was 180.50 lakh," PFRDA chairman Hemant Contractor said. “APY accounts for around 80% of the growth in the subscriber base this year," he added

The subscriber base includes central and state government employees and those from the private sector, including the informal economy. APY, a scheme launched in 2015 for the unorganised sector, is a part of the subscriber base with about 7 million beneficiaries accounting for a corpus of about Rs3,000 crore as of 31 October.

On 31 March, APY had around 4.8 million beneficiaries accounting for a corpus of about Rs1,885 crore.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Contractor said, “We have an ambitious target for APY this year…We are taking several measures to reach the figure of 10 million by 31 March 2018."

“We are launching state-specific APY campaigns. We have started off with Uttar Pradesh and will be running this campaign across 5-6 big states in order to get as many people in the state as possible to join APY," he said.

According to PFRDA, Bihar, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka will be covered under the campaign.

The total assets under management at NPS and APY as of 31 October was 2.1 trillion, up by around 21% from .7 trillion in March, said PFRDA.

Bank and post offices will be incentivised to get more subscribers on board, added Contractor. In October, PFRDA increased the incentives payable to points of presence (PoPs), the principal distributive points for NPS.

PFRDA has taken several initiatives in the past to increase pension coverage, notably introducing e-NPS, reducing minimum contribution levels, new investment instruments, and aggressive life cycle funds.

NPS is a voluntary contributory retirement savings scheme designed to enable systematic savings during a subscriber’s working life. It is an attempt towards finding a sustainable solution to providing adequate retirement income to every citizen of India.