By Mohan R, IFMR Rural Finance
Given the important role pensions play in the financial well-being of households, NPS-Lite, a pension plan geared towards economically disadvantaged populations, is crucial to achieving complete financial inclusion. It provides a mechanism for households to plan for their retirement years by saving and investing small amounts through their productive life stages.
Being one of the first aggregators appointed by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) for the distribution of NPS-Lite, IFMR Rural Finance can appoint facilitators for itself to increase access to NPS-Lite. Correspondingly, to ensure that the selected facilitators are well equipped to distribute the product responsibly, it has also taken the initiative to develop content for creating awareness and providing relevant training that would aid the distribution of the product.
Towards this end IFMR Rural Finance recently completed its second modular replication with an MFI based in Bihar, Saija Finance Private Limited, by appointing it as a facilitator for IFMR Rural Finance; an important initial step towards appointing many other institutions who have shown interest in offering NPS-Lite. IFMR Rural Finance had earlier appointed Care NGO Partners as facilitators for NPS-Lite.
Commenting on being appointed as a facilitator, Purshottam Ranjan, Operations Manager, Saija Finance Private Limited, said “Having launched NPS Lite for pilot-test at our Danapur branch, we have provided exclusive training to our field staff about the product and have been promoting it at group meetings to our clients and non-clients in order to get their feedback and develop strategies based on it. Initially we are promoting the product within 5KM radius of our branch, but hope to expand as we gain experience in distributing it.“
Given that access to a complete suite of financial products is key to improving a household’s financial well-being, IFMR Rural Finance hopes to offer consulting/technical assistance/systems and training, that would help a range of institutions distribute mutual funds and insurance, amongst other products, over a period of time.