Last week, the Union Cabinet approved a proposal to enhance the tax exemption limit to 60%. “This is a very positive step and brings NPS at par with other retirement products. It will make the NPS more attractive and have a far reaching impact on the pension sector in India,” says Hemant Contractor, chairman of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).
Pension funds are delighted by the move. “Now that 60% of the corpus will be tax free on maturity, NPS will now be comparable with the Public Provident Fund and Employee Provident Fund and better than any other financial savings product,” says Sumit Shukla, CEO of the HDFC Pension Fund. “Earlier, 20% of the corpus was taxable at maturity. That included the principal as well as the gain. Now, no part of the principal will get taxed on withdrawal,” he adds.
In another major change, the mandatory contribution by the Central Government for employees covered under NPS has been enhanced from the existing 10% of salary to 14%. “The hike in the government’s contribution will make NPS better than the defined pension under the old system where the pensioner got 50% of his last drawn salary,” claims Shukla.