The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), part of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, ensures a mandatory and contributory Provident Fund (PF), pension and an insurance scheme for all workers and members in the organised sector. RK Singh, Additional Central PF Commissioner, Pune Zone, speaks to Sushant Ranjan about the initiatives.
What are the initiatives being undertaken to boost the number of membership?
In January 2017, the EPFO launched an enrolment campaign, where we offered amnesty with a penalty at a much lower rate to the SMEs, who had not fully enrolled their workers to bring them under the PF. We enrolled 10 lakh new members in just six months. Every year, 4 to 5 lakh employees withdraw their PF. So, we decided to provide a smooth process for people taking advances.
What benefits will be provided to the PF members?
We are exploring other benefits that we can make available to our members. We are looking at helping with a housing scheme. The government has set a target of ‘Housing for all by 2022’. We started work on this in April.
If workers form a cooperative and our people certify funds they have in their accounts, HUDCO can give them loans at a subsidised rate. The 90 per cent of the accumulated PF money can be the worker’s first instalment towards a home purchase.
How will PF help labour hired by the private contractor?
It has been observed that contractors claim huge amount towards EPF of contract workers from the principal employer. But they neither deposit it fully nor partly.
We are conducting a seminar for principal employers every day. We have asked them to ensure that all workers have linked their UAN with the Aadhaar number. They also have to ensure PF amount has been deposited by a contractor to hired workers.
How will the Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY) help both employers and employees?
The PMRPY is targeted at employees earning wages less than or equal to Rs 15,000 per month.
Thus, new employees earning wages over Rs 15,001 per month will not be eligible.
The employer will continue to get the 8.33 contribution paid by the government for these eligible new employees for the next three years, from the date of acquiring a new UAN or August 9, 2016, whichever is later, provided they continue in employment in any EPFO registered establishment.