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There is a growing trend of new net subscribers during February 2021 in the retirement body EPFO compared to the same month in 2020. The number has grown by nearly 20 percent to 12.37 lakh subscribers in February.

According to the payroll data released on Tuesday which provides a perspective on formal sector employment amid the coronavirus pandemic, a Labour Ministry statement said the data reflects growth of 3.52 percent in net subscribers addition in February 2021 over January 2021.

'Year-on-year comparison of payroll data indicates an increase of 19.63 percent in net subscribers as compared to the corresponding period in February 2020,' the ministry said.

Despite COVID-19 pandemic, the EPFO has added around 69.58 lakh net subscribers during 2020-21 (till February 2021). During 2019-20, the number of net new subscribers rose to 78.58 lakh as compared to 61.12 lakh in the preceding fiscal, the data showed.

The number of net enrolments with the body was revised downwards to 11.95 lakh for January 2021 from earlier provisional estimates of 13.36 lakh for the month released in March 2021. Since April 2018, EPFO has been releasing payroll data covering the period September 2017 onwards.

Net new enrolments in April in negative zone

According to the latest data, net new enrolments in April 2020 were in the negative zone at (-) 2,72,900 against the figure of (-) 2,55,559 released in March. This means that the number of members who exited the EPFO subscription was more than those who joined or rejoined the scheme.

The number of net new enrolments in May 2020 was also revised downwards to (-) 2,72,328 from (-) 2,47,991 estimated in March. Net new enrolments for June 2020 were revised down to 1,39,789 from 1,65,607 released in March 2021.

The net new enrolments for July 2020 were also revised downwards to 5,15,428 from 5,35,720 for the month released in March 2021. For August it was revised to 6,42,446 from 6,67,325 earlier.

The net new enrolments for September 2020 were revised down to 12,31,042 from 12,60,877 for the month released in March 2021. For October, it was revised to 9,00,037 from 9,34,574 earlier.

For November 2020, the number was revised downwards to 6,99,020 from the earlier 7,71,546 while for December 2020 the number was down at 9,42,825 against the earlier estimate of 10,81,398 released in March 2021.

The statement said that of the 12.37 lakh net subscribers added during the month of February 2021, around 7.56 lakh new members have come into the social security ambit of EPFO for the first time.

Subscribers exit, rejoin EPFO

Around 4.81 lakh net subscribers exited and then rejoined EPFO by switching their jobs within the establishments covered by EPFO and choosing to retain membership through transfer of funds rather than opting for final settlement, it added.

The data of exited members is based on the claims submitted by the individuals/establishments and the exit data uploaded by employers, whereas the number of new subscribers is based on the Universal Account Number (UAN) generated in the system and has received non-zero subscription.

An age-wise analysis indicates that during February 2021, the age-bracket of 22-25 has registered the highest number of net enrollments with around 3.29 lakh net subscribers addition, it said.

The age-bracket of 29-35 (years) had around 2.51 lakh net enrollments. This age group can be considered as experienced workers who changed jobs for career growth and opted to be with the EPFO.

A category-wise analysis of industries reflects dominance of ‘expert services’ category with overall additions of 4.99 lakh net payroll additions in February 2021, followed by ‘Trading-commercial establishments’ category, contributing around 84,000 subscribers.

Few States ahead in net payroll addition

Pan India comparison shows that states of Maharashtra, Haryana, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are in forefront of net payroll addition. These five states contributed 54.81 per cent of the total net subscribers additions across all the age-groups by adding 38.14 lakh net subscribers during the current financial year.

Gender-wise analysis reflects addition of around 2.60 lakh net female subscribers in the month of February, 2021 which is 21 per cent of total net addition during the month.

Month-on-month comparison indicates an increase of approximately 12.74 per cent over the previous month of January, 2020. The payroll data is provisional since the data generation is a continuous exercise as updation of employee record is a continuous process.

The previous data hence gets updated every month, it said. The data published comprises members who have joined during the month and whose contribution has been received.

During the difficult time of Covid-19 pandemic, EPFO is committed to providing a helping hand to all its stakeholders and reaffirms its vision to be an innovation driven social security organisation aiming to ensure Nirbadh-Seamless and uninterrupted service delivery, it added.

The EPFO manages social security funds of workers in the organised/semi-organised sector in India.

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Free Press Journal