Union Govt. Forms 4 Panels to Analyze EPFO Functioning

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The Union Government of India, has taken the decision to create 4 specific board-level committees to analyze and delve into the functioning of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO). Each of the 4 new committees will take a peep under the hood of how different aspects of the EPFO function which are – establishment related issues, futuristic implementation of social security, digital capacity building & pension related issues. The new committees or sub-committees will look into the aforementioned aspects of EPFO functioning.

The formation of these panels was approved by the chair of the Central Board of Trustees of EPFO Bhupinder Yadav who is also the Union Minister of Labour & Employment. The newly approved committees have been notified on 27th November and they have a tenure of 3 months. Currently, the EPFO handles a fund of more than ₹15 lakh crores of retirement savings.

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The 2 committees which will be inspecting the functions of the EPFO with regard to ‘Pension Related Issues/Reforms and ‘IT & Communication’ will be led by Labour Secretary Sunil Barthwal, who was in charge of the EPFO as Central PF Commissioner until late September of this year. An 8-member panel has been instructed to submit a report for suggestions on matters pertaining to pension reforms for universalization of social security. There already exists a board-level committee to review, modify & better the Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) of 1995.

The EPS & EDLI (Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance) Implementation Committees are usually headed by the CPFC. Meanwhile, the committee appointed to look into IT & Communications to build the digital capacity of EPFO comprises of 10-members and it has been asked to provide solutions to improve service delivery for EPFO members. The committee assigned to look into building digital capacity of the EPFO is also tasked with finding solutions for effective media & communication with stakeholders.

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The 2 other committees will be headed by Rameshwar Teli who is the Minister of State for Labour & Employment. The committees will be dealing with the workings of the establishment aspects, internal human resources and ways to improve EPFO coverage, decreasing related litigation issues. There will be a keen interest in the proceedings of the inspection of the human resources committee as there were hurried transfers & appointments for more than 100 senior EPFO officials in July this year.

 Today Last Date of EPFO Deadline to Link UAN to Aadhaar Numbers

The EPFO had originally postponed the deadline for members to link their Aadhaar card nos. to their UAN (Universal Account Number) from 31st August 2021 to 30th November 2021. The move to link Aadhaar number with the UAN was made necessary this year after a revision to section 142 of the Code of Social Security 2020.

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“In partial modification of the Circular No. WSU/15(1)2019/ATR/529 dated 15.06.2021 under reference, it is informed that the date of completing the seeding and verification of Aadhaar with UAN, is hereby extended till 30.11.2021 and accordingly, the date in Para 1 of the referred Circular dated 15.06.2021 mentioned as 01.09.2021 may be read as 01.12.2021,” stated in a statement made public by the EPFO on 15th November 2021.

The consequences of not linking UAN with Aadhaar number are many but the primary one would be the member will not receive employer’s contribution. The requirements for filing Electronic Challan Cumulative Return have also been modified by EPFO, saying the company can only file for employees who have linked UAN to Aadhaar number. Employers can apply for a separate ECR for non-Aadhaar seeded UAN once the Aadhaar seeding procedure is finished. Most employees will face payment delays in their account till the data is approved by employers & authorities and will also be incapable of withdrawing PF funds from their accounts.

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The EPFO is also proposing to open membership to previous members who have exited the scheme with a minimum contribution of ₹500 per month which could benefit citizens who have just lost their job or moved jobs from formal sector to a job in the informal sector voluntarily. The EPFO is currently working on a system to allow previous members of the EPFO re-join by paying a monthly contribution of ₹500 or 12% of their monthly income.

The EPFO is analysing the effect this new scheme could have on the EPS, EPF & EDLI schemes, post which the above scheme will be finalised. The Social Security Code 2020 allows the EPFO to add new schemes to its offerings. The introduction of this new scheme could greatly benefit individuals have a retirement corpus fund, avail fixed returns at higher interest rates while also leading to growth of the EPFO fund and number of EPFO members.

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