Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has stressed the need for India to take a "larger march" towards becoming a pensioned society, stating that the current developments were only in the form of "baby steps".
"Given the social changes that are taking place before us, there is a great need for India to evolve into a pensioned and insurance society," Mr Jaitley said at a pension conference in New Delhi. The theme of the conference was "Creating an inclusive and sustainable pension system in India: Opportunities and challenges".
He noted that age expectancy is rising in India, family structures are undergoing a change and people are moving across cities in search of a livelihood, reported Hindu Business Line.
This was not the first time Mr Jaitley has spoken of an insured society. In September 2016, he voiced the hope that India would become a fully insured and socially secured nation as the economy expanded.
"When we evolve from being a developing society to a developed society, the main challenge before the country is how well it can look after its citizens in the event of a personal crisis," Mr Jaitley had said then.
Automatic pension enrolment idea
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) Hemant Contractor in his address at the conference suggested that the government should institute automatic enrolment into pension schemes by employees of small and medium businesses. Thanks to the introduction of GST, many informal businesses are now getting formalised and there is scope for auto enrolment to pension plans for employees of these firms, Mr Contractor noted.
"I have written directly to the Finance Minister requesting that auto enrolment be allowed for the small firms. This will help expand pension coverage," he said.
He said that recent indications are that India’s economic growth will be reasonably higher compared to that of other countries. Individual incomes are going to increase and thus there will be more scope to invest for secure retirement, he added.