New Delhi:

Regulator PFRDA has asked banks to process requests for change in Atal Pension Yojana (APY) subscribers' contribution amount anytime during the year, a move aimed at making the scheme more attractive.

This arrangement has been made available from July 1. Earlier, a subscriber was allowed to make the change only in the month of April.

"This arrangement will enable the APY subscribers to increase/decrease their pension plans as per their changed income levels and capacity to pay APY contributions, which is very important to continue contributions in the scheme till 60 years," the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) said in a release.

The regulator has asked "all banks to process upgrade/downgrade of pension amount requests of APY subscribers throughout the year with effect from July 1, 2020", it said.

However, a subscriber can change pension plan only once in a financial year, said the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA)

There are about 2.28 crore subscribers enrolled under the scheme.

The PFRDA further said from July 1, 2020 auto-debit of APY contributions has also started, which was stopped till June 30 in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.

As per current arrangements, if all the pending APY contributions due between April-August, 2020 get auto-debited from savings account of the subscribers, latest by September 30, then no penal interest would be charged to them.

The Atal Pension Yojana was launched by the Government of India in May 2015. This scheme is open to all citizens who are in the age group of 18-40 years.

Under the scheme, a subscriber would receive a guaranteed pension of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 per month after attaining the age of 60 years, depending upon his contributions.

After the death of the subscribers, same pension amount would be paid to his or her spouse. On the demise of both subscriber and spouse, the accumulated pension wealth of the subscriber would be returned to the nominee.