What is the National Pension Scheme (NPS)?

The National Pension Scheme was launched in 2004 as a government-funded pension scheme. Initially, only central government employees could be a part of this pension scheme. In 2009, this scheme was extended to all the sections of society. Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is responsible for the regulation of this pension scheme. This scheme promotes sustainable and voluntary contributions to the pension fund system in India.


The major objectives of the scheme are:

  • To provide income for the retirement period
  • Investment in this scheme attracts market-based returns in the long run
  • Including all the sections of the society in this old-age pension scheme

Every member who invests in NPS is allotted PRAN (Permanent Retirement Account Number). But what is PRAN and why do we need it?


What is PRAN?

Permanent Retirement Account Number is popularly known as PRAN. Like PAN, even PRAN is a combination of 12 unique characters. As the name suggests, it is a permanent number which stays the same throughout your life and can be accessed from any location in India. All the savings invested in the NPS are reflected in this account. With PRAN, you can access two types of personal accounts. These accounts are:

Tier I account:
  • This is a non-withdrawable pension account.
  • You deposit your retirement savings in this account.
  • Any resident of India between the age of 18 to 60 can open this account.
  • This account is also eligible for tax exemptions.
  • This account was made available to the general public on 1st May 2009.
  • The account can be opened by submitting the duly filled form and submitting it along with the KYC documents.
Tier II account:

Amount from this account can be withdrawn anytime and this account is not eligible for tax exemptions. It is a simple savings facility which operates on a voluntary basis. This account was made public on 1st December 2009. If you already have the Tier I account, then you can easily
Application for PRAN can be made via NSDL (National Securities Depository Limited). NSDL acts as the Central Recordkeeping Agency (CRA) for the National Pension Scheme. Once you have all the required documents in place, you can apply for PRAN by submitting the documents to the POP-SP (Point of Presence – Service Providers).
If you are from the corporate sector and wish to subscribe to the NPS scheme, then you need to fill form CS-S1 and submit it to your corporate company. During the time of registration, you need to pay a minimum amount of Rs 500 for Tier I account and Rs 1000 for Tier II account.


Documents required for PRAN:

You need to submit these documents to the Administrative officer while applying for PRAN:
  • Your bank account details
  • KYC details for address proof and identity proof
  • Subscriber’s photograph
  • Details of the scheme preferred

PRAN application form:

You can find the application for the allotment of PRAN at this link: https://www.npscra.nsdl.co.in/download/government-sector/central-government/forms/S1_Subscriber%20Registration%20form.pdf
As you can see, this application form is divided into various sections asking different pieces of information. It is important that you fill the complete form and furnish correct details only.


Section – A of the application form:

  • Personal details: name, gender, date of birth, father’s name, your permanent and correspondence address, telephone number, mobile number, and your email address.
  • You need to fill your Permanent Account Number (PAN) also.
  • Filing bank details are also mandatory. Your bank details should consist of bank name, branch, bank address, and bank’s IFSC code.
  • You also need to affix a recent coloured photograph in the designated box. And under that same box, you either need to put in your signatures or your left thumb impressions.

Section – B of the application form:

  • You are not supposed to fill this part of the form. Only DDO (Drawing and Disbursing Officer) has the authority to fill this section of the form.
  • In this section, DDO will fill details like date of joining, date of retirement, DDO registration number, basic salary, and pay scale amongst other details.

Section – C of the application form:

  • This section includes your nomination details.
  • You can choose up to 3 nominees for this application. Along with the name of the nominees, you also need to fill date of birth, the percentage share of the nominees, and their relationship to the subscriber.
  • In case the nominee is a minor, you need to furnish the details of the minor’s guardians in this section.

Section – D of the application form:

  • In this section, you need to enter details regarding your preferred scheme.
  • For the details related to the scheme, you need to put pension fund managers name/code, scheme Id number, and percentage share.

Section – E of the application form:

  • This is the last section that you need to fill in the application form.
  • You need to carefully read the ‘Declaration’ and fill in your name, date, and signature/thumb impression in the designated box.
  • The last page of the application form consists of instructions. You need to follow these instructions while filing the PRAN application form.
    If you are a registered user of an old pension scheme and applying for PRAN, then you need to provide the same details which you furnished while applying for the old pension scheme. If you are an existing subscriber of the scheme, then you need to submit a new application to register yourself with CRA.


How to apply for PRAN?

You can apply for PRAN via two modes:

PRAN modes Online mode:

Any central or state government employee who is already registered with the Central Record Keeping Agency can apply for PRAN (Permanent Retirement Account Number) online. You can apply for PRAN by visiting the official website of NSDL (National Securities Depository Limited) by clicking on the link: https://nsdl.co.in/.
To apply for PRAN, you need to fill the online application form, link to which is mentioned above. You can find detailed information on how you can fill the form in the same section.
Once you have filled in the application, you need to submit the form to your Administrative Officer/Nodal officer who would then forward your application to Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA). People who are already registered with CRA and DDO can directly apply for the allotment of PRAN.


Offline mode:

People who do not have access to the internet can opt for this mode. Follow the steps mentioned below to apply for PRAN via this mode.

  • PRAN application form is available with service providers at any National Pension Scheme’s point of presence. You can either procure the form from these points or you can ask someone to download this form from the NSDL website for you.
  • Fill in the application form carefully and attach the documents which are mentioned above with your application form.
  • Once filled, submit the form to any NPS point of presence. Upon submission, the organization will provide you with a PRAN application number.
  • Once your documents are approved by the service providers at the NPS point of presence and PRAN has been issued, you need to post these documents to the address given below:

Central Recordkeeping agency

NSDL e-governance Infrastructure Limited

1st floor, Times Tower

Kamala Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel

Mumbai – 400013

  • For registering yourself with the CRA, you need to pay some registration fees and submit the instruction slip which contains the payment details.
  • After you have sent the post, you can track the status of the application by calling on 022 – 40904242

Steps to track your PRAN application:

Ideally, you should receive your PRAN within 15 to 20 days once you have submitted your application. In spite of this, if you want to check the status of your PRAN application, follow the steps mentioned below:

You will see a screen similar to the one mentioned above.

  • Once you will scroll down the same screen, you will see an option, ‘Track PRAN card status’. You need to click on that link.
  • Here You will be redirected to another link where you will see a screen similar to the one mentioned below: tracking the dispatch status
  • You will see ‘Tracking the dispatch status for PRAN section’. You need to select amongst ‘New Registered PRAN’, ‘Re-issued PRAN’, and Re-issued Password/T-PIN. Select ‘New Registered PRAN’ amongst the three. Proceed further by filling in details like your PRAN number and captcha. Once you are done, click on ‘submit’.
  • This portal will give you the exact status of your PRAN application.

Update your PRAN details:

It is important that your updated information is present with the CRA. If you have recently changed your mobile number, residence, or email address and wish to update your PRAN details, then follow the steps mentioned below:

  • For updating your PRAN details, fill in the form S2 which is available on this link:

https://www.npscra.nsdl.co.in/download/government-sector/central-government/forms/S2_Subscriber-detail-change-request-form.pdf

  • Fill in the form and attach the documents as requested.
  • Now, you can submit this completed form to your Nodal officer/Administrative officer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q- From where can I access all the forms related to PRAN?

All forms related to PRAN like the application form, change/update form, re-issue form are available at the NSDL portal which can be accessed from this link: www.npscra.nsdl.co.in/


Q- Can applications for Tier I and Tier II account simultaneously?

Yes, applications for both the account can be filled and submitted simultaneously. However, if you already have a Tier I account, then you can easily apply for the Tier II account.


Q- What documents do I need to open a National Pension Scheme account?

Aadhaar and PAN are mandatory documents for opening an NPS account. Both your documents should contain your updated details. Additionally, your bank account should be linked to PAN. Once you have all the documents in place, you can register for an NPS account by filling the registration form and submitting it to any Service-Provider – Points of Presence.


Q- How do I receive the PRAN number?

Once your NPS account is opened, CRA (Central Recordkeeping Agency) emails you a ‘Welcome Kit’. This welcome kit will contain your PRAN number, a PRAN card which will contain details related to the subscriber, and a booklet explaining the importance and usage.


Q- Will I be notified about the generation of my PRAN?

Yes, CRA (Central Recordkeeping Agency) will notify you upon the generation of your PRAN. You will receive notification either via an SMS on the number registered with CRA or via email on the email address registered with CRA. The notification sent by the CRA will only contain the last four digits of your account number.


Q- Can I get two PRAN numbers?

No, it is illegal to hold two PRAN (Permanent Retirement Account Number). However, you can hold one account of each Tier I and Tier II account. If in case, you have two PRANs, you need to inform CRA about the same. You need to send in a deactivation request of any one of the PRAN to CRA.


Q- How can I deactivate my second PRAN (Permanent Retirement Account Number)?

To deactivate your second PRAN, you need to send the de-activation to Point of Preference (PoP) / Point of Preference – Service Providers (PoP- SP). You can file for de-activation of the account that you want to close. The amount invested in this account will be merged with the active NPS account. Once the amount is transferred, your account will be closed.

CA Abhishek Soni

Abhishek Soni is a Chartered Accountant by profession & entrepreneur by passion. He is the co-founder & CEO of Tax2Win.in. Tax2win is amongst the top 25 emerging startups of Asia and authorized ERI by the Income Tax Department. In the past, he worked in EY and comes with wide industry experience from telecom, retail to manufacturing to entertainment where he has handled various national and international assignments.