Fifty-eighty million people in India are living without pension or any other form of assistance, according to a report by Pension Parishad, a civil society organisation which promotes universal pension for all workers in India.
In its report titled “State of Pensions in India Report 2018”, Pension Parishad says that the central government spends as little as 0.04% of the GDP for its flagship Indira Gandhi National Social Assistance programme to ensure income security for the elderly.
The report adds that 14 states provide a monthly pension of up to INR500 ($6.84) per person. The highest pension of INR2,000 per month per person is given by states such as Delhi, Goa, Kerala and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
According to the National Social Assistance Programme, a welfare programme administered by the Ministry of Rural Development, 80m elderly people in India are entitled to a pension of INR200 per month. However, even this reaches only about 22.3m people.
Indeed, the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index rates India as having the second lowest among 34 markets providing retirement income systems with good benefits.
India’s retirement income system comprises an earnings-related employee pension scheme, a defined contribution employee provident fund, a defined benefit lump sum gratuity benefit and voluntary employer managed funds.
Among other measures, the report says that the Indian system could be improved by introducing a minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing coverage of pension arrangements for the unorganised working class.