‘Rising numbers of state pensioners’ as pensions rise in the Northeast
India’s pensioners are rising fast in the states and union territories with the number of pensioners receiving a monthly pension increasing from 3.5 crore in 2014 to 6.7 crore in 2016.
The number of state-level pensioners rose from 3,500 crore in 2013 to 3,750 crore in the year ending March 2017, according to data released by the Union Cabinet.
The latest data shows that of the total pension funds in the Union Territories, 5.6 lakh of them are in the state of Tamil Nadu.
Of the total assets in the State, more than 70 per cent are in State-level Pension Fund (SLPF) which is an index fund.
This fund covers pension funds that are owned by the State Government, and these assets include the State Pension Fund and the State Employees Pension Scheme (SEPS).
The other 10 per cent is the State Employee Pension Scheme and the state Employees Pension Fund.
In 2016, the State Employment Pension Scheme received a total of Rs 1.2 lakh crore and the Employees Pension scheme was Rs 1,300 crore, which represents an increase of more than 20 per cent.
“The increase in the number and quality of pension funds as compared to last year was due to the creation of the new state Employees’ Pension Scheme in 2016, which has contributed to a more diversified portfolio,” said a senior Union Cabinet official.
In the past three years, there has been a substantial increase in State Pension funds, and the number is likely to go up in the future.
This was a significant step towards diversification of the State’s pension funds.
“State Pension funds are being held for long periods of time.
We have to provide pension funds to state employees and they have to use the funds for the long term,” said another official.
In 2014, the Union government created the SLPF and SEPS.
“This will help to diversify the pension funds which will enable them to take advantage of the better performance of their pension funds,” said the Union cabinet official.
According to data from the Central Pension Fund, the SLFP was the second largest in terms of assets.
The State Pension Scheme was followed by the SEPS, which was the third largest in the assets.
“Our objective is to build a diversified pension portfolio with a mix of State Employees and State Pension Funds,” said Amit Singh, Union Finance Minister.
The Union Cabinet has also announced the creation and transfer of a fund to provide State Government Pension funds to employees, and also a fund for State Employees to purchase state assets.
This will help increase the state Government Pension Fund by 20 per per cent from Rs 3,300 to Rs 6,700 crore.