Income Security for Older Persons in India: A Purposive Assessment of Coverage, Funding and Benefits


Although India is still a relatively young country, there are currently 116 million older persons in India and their number is increasing rapidly. Income security for older persons can become an increasing concern. Coverage of contributory and non-contributory schemes is still low in India. Public sector workers are well covered through a non-contributory pension scheme. Due to longer life expectancy, the number of beneficiaries of this scheme is increasing rapidly, which poses an increasing burden for the federal budget. There are also several contributory schemes in India covering the formal private sector as well as public sector employees who started after 1 January 2004. Membership of many of these funds is stagnating. The only pension schemes with a rise of memberships are those under the oversight of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA). Many pension funds in India are likely to be unsustainable in the future and are likely to require reform.