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New enrolments under EPFO, ESIC lowest in three years

Fresh subscribers, an indicative job creation data, drop by 22.56% and 24%, respectively, in 2020-21. Though they have been dropping over the years, COVID-induced disruptions in the economy saw the numbers falling drastically in 2020.

May 27, 2021 / 04:50 PM IST
The Centre, in March 2020, permitted EPF subscribers to withdraw 75 percent of their PF balance or three-month wages, whichever is lower, as a non-refundable advance. [Representative image]

The Centre, in March 2020, permitted EPF subscribers to withdraw 75 percent of their PF balance or three-month wages, whichever is lower, as a non-refundable advance. [Representative image]

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) payroll data shows that fresh subscribers to the government's social security organisations -- Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) -- has dropped by 22.56 and 24 percent, respectively, year on year in 2020-21. The data was released on Tuesday.

While fresh enrolments had been dropping over the years, it suffered a significant drop in 2020, the year the economy was disrupted by COVID-19.

From 1.39 crore in 2018-19, new enrolments dropped to 1.10 crore in 2019-20 and further to 85.48 lakh in 2020-21 under EPFO, whereas for ESIC, the new enrolments stood at 1.49 crore in 2018-19, rose marginally to 1.51 crore in 2019-20 and dropped further to 1.15 crore in 2020-21.

Meanwhile, new subscribers under National Pension System also plunged 23 percent in 2020-21. From 7.57 lakh subscribers in 2019-20, the new enrollments dropped to 5.82 lakh in 2020-21.

Fresh enrolments under EPFO, ESIC and NPS are indicative job creation data.


While the EPF scheme is mandatory for workers not earning more than Rs 15,000 a month in organisations having more than 20 employees, the ESIC, on the other hand, provides insurance and medical benefits to those workers whose monthly wages do not exceed Rs 21,000 in a month in establishments having 10 or more workers.

To tide over the stress on the job market created by COVID-19, the government in 2020 announced the EPF subsidy scheme, Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on November 12 announced the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana, aimed at incentivising the creation of new employment opportunities during the COVID-19 economic recovery phase.

The scheme is expected to provide dual benefits. On the one hand, this scheme is expected to encourage employers and business establishments to increase the number of workers, and, on the other, it will help a large number of job-seekers find employment in EPFO-registered establishments.

Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana, for establishments employing up to 1,000 workers, the central government will provide employee and employer contribution of 12 percent each of the wages, thereby covering 24 percent of the wages.

For establishments employing over 1,000 workers, the government proposed to provide an EPF contribution worth 12 percent of the wages.

An employee drawing a monthly wage of less than Rs 15,000, who was not working in any establishment registered with the EPFO before October 1, 2020, will be eligible for the scheme.

From April 2018, MOSPI has been bringing out employment-related statistics in the formal sector, covering the period September 2017 onwards, using information on the number of subscribers under three major schemes -- the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Scheme, and the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Scheme, and the National Pension System (NPS).

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Shreeja Singh
first published: May 27, 2021 04:40 pm
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