EPFO adds nearly 14 mn subscribers in last two financial years

Net addition to EPFO subscriber base rose from 61.12 lakh added in 2018-19 to 78.58 lakh in 2019-20, registering a 28% growth, said Ministry of Labour & Employment on Monday. Thus, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation added 1.39 crore subscribers in last two financial years.

“The subscriber growth is on account of lower exits and higher rejoining by exited members. The tax free returns of 8.5% for 2019-20, which is one of the highest among other social security instruments and fixed deposits, has helped EPFO reduce its exits for 2019-20 by around 10% as compared with previous year,” the ministry said in a press release.

“Moreover, there has been a robust increase of around 75% in terms of rejoining by the members exited from 43.78 lakh in 2018-19 to 78.15 lakh in 2019-20. The auto-transfer facility which enables hassle free transfer of PF balance from the old account to the new account on change of job has played a big role in ensuring continuity of membership in many cases,” the ministry further said.

Age-wise analysis at the retirement fund body during 2019-20 indicates that for the age group 26-28, 29-35 and beyond 35 the net enrolment has increased by more than 50% compared to previous year.

“Rapid improvement in quality of service delivery in online mode has attracted the workforce of the country towards services of EPFO. Moreover, PF accumulation is no longer looked at as locked-in money. With EPFO settling COVID-19 advances within 3 days, PF accumulations are now seen as liquid assets that can timely meet the need of the subscribers during crisis (like Covid-19). Similarly, PF advances can be availed in case of unemployment, marriage expense, higher education, housing and medical treatment,” the ministry also said.

Also, enrolment of female workers has gone up by around 22% during 2019-20 compared to previous years indicating greater female participation in formal workforce.

Category-wise analysis of industry indicates that hospitals and financing establishments have shown greater than 50% growth while trading & commercial establishments, textiles and establishments providing cleaning and sweeping services have all grown at greater than 20% in terms of net enrolment. “It is indeed an indication that greater formalisation of jobs is taking place in the Indian employment market which is also corroborated by the 2019-20 Economic Survey,” the ministry said.

However, the net new enrolments with EPFO recorded at 1.33 lakh during April 2020, according to its payroll data, providing an employment perspective in the formal sector impacted by coronavirus-induced lockdown.

The government had imposed lockdown from March 25 to fight Covid-19 in the country.

The provisional payroll data released by the EPFO last month had earlier showed that the net new enrollments dipped to 5.72 lakh in March this year compared to 10.21 lakh in February, 2020.

The net new enrolments with the EPFO hovers around 7 lakh every month on an average.

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