Ujjivan and IIMPS launch Micro-Pension scheme for women

Ujjivan, one of India’s leading microfinance institutions in partnership with IIMPS (Invest India Micro-Pension Services) launched two micro-pension products for over 10 lakh urban poor women across India. On 8th April, over 300 microfinance customers attended a pension awareness function in Pune. The program also marked the launch of the scheme.

The event was chaired by Mr Debashish Mohanty, Country Head – Retail & Executive Vice President, UTI Asset Management Company Ltd., Mr Gautam Bharadwaj, MD & Co-Founder – IIMPS and Mr.Jolly Zachariah, COO (West) – Ujjivan.

The Micro Mutual Fund, a retirement benefit pension fund is a government-notified pension scheme managed by UTI while NPS-Lite is a long-term retirement savings plan offered by LIC-HF. Both products are being provided to Ujjivan customers through this partnership.

Ujjivan has recently begun educating and helping enrolment of individual microfinance clients for the integrated financial solution. Each client uses her own “micro-pension prepaid card” to transmit her periodic micro-savings for her old age directly to regulated product providers such as UTI and NPS-Lite (National Pension Scheme).

At the function, an retirement literacy film was screened for the customers to help them understand the importance of pensions and old age income security.

“We cannot build better lives with 1 or 2 year thought process. Development happens when we integrate today with tomorrow and Micro-Pensions is a step towards Financial Inclusion rather than just a financial product”, said Jolly Zachariah. He shared the progress Ujjivan has made in micro credit serving over 10 lakh customers nationally. The efforts made by the company in partnership and directly, meeting social needs by going the extra mile through Social Development Programs, Health interventions, the Diksha Financial Literacy Program, etc were discussed with the gathering .

This partnership model with IIMPS will deliver an integrated and well regulated financial solution to financially-excluded households at an affordable cost. The model harnesses the network of Ujjivan’s 301 branches in 20 states (including 48 under-banked districts) around the country, enabling women in low income households to accumulate micro-savings for their various lifecycle needs including old age.

Mr. Debashish Mohanty, Chief Guest at the function addressed the gathering: “90% of the population have a need for pensions but are unable to enroll because they are either not aware of the options or do not have the financial capability to save at a relatively young age. Because of this financial indecision, most people face the challenging situation of being dependent on others during old age”. He applauded Ujjivan and IIMPS for taking the effort to make this scheme available for around 10 lakh Ujjivan customers. He also explained the need for all to be self-reliant.

Mr Gautam Bhardwaj started his speech with a popular Hindi saying “Jab jaago tabhi savera” (When you wake up, it is morning then) encouraging customers that it is never too late to enroll in the scheme. He took the customers on walk down memory lane with anecdotes on how the idea of Micro pensions germinated. He also explained the simplicity of the enrollment process. "IIMPS is delighted to be partnering with a credible national-level institution like Ujjivan. We see a clear alignment in outlook and priorities at Ujjivan and IIMPS on the importance of financial literacy, customer protection and on security and transparency in the product and service delivery process”, he said.

The Program ended with testimonials by customers who have enrolled in the scheme and also by few senior citizens who expressed regret about not having realized the need to get into such scheme in their young age and were now facing stress.

Savita More, Ujjivan’s first customer from Pune North branch said, “I got to know about Ujjivan offering pension and immediately discussed with my husband. He suggested that this service is going to benefit us in future and will be the bedrock in our old age”.

Shirin Sheikh, an Ujjivan customer from Pune East branch proudly told the audience “My father was in military and because of him our mother got Rs 6000/- as monthly pension which helped her educate my brother and sister. I can proudly say that I am now a pension holder. I would request all ladies to keep aside savings for the future because you cannot predict bad times”.

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