EPFO adds 1.39 crore subscribers in the last two financial years

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Recently published provisional payroll data by EPFO highlights the ever-growing trend of increasing subscriber base for EPFO, since the collation of payroll data from September 2017. The payroll data presents the consolidated annual figures for 2018-19 and 2019-20. The net addition to subscriber base rose from 61.12 lakh added in 2018-19 to 78.58 lakh in 2019-20, registering a 28% growth. The data published comprises of all the new members who have joined during the month and whose contribution is received.
The subscriber growth is on account of lower exits and higher re-joining 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 the previous year.
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 the hassle-free transfer of PF balance from the old account to the news report on the change of job, has played a significant role in ensuring continuity of membership in many cases.
Age-wise analysis 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 the previous year. Rapid improvement in the 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 three days, PF accumulations are now seen as liquid assets that can timely meet the need of the subscribers during a crisis. Similarly, PF advances can be availed in case of unemployment, marriage expense, higher education, housing and medical treatment.
Further, the enrolment of female workers has gone up by around 22% during 2019-20 compared to previous years indicating greater female participation in the formal workforce.
The data published indicates that a total of 1.13 lakh new establishments have commenced compliance for the first time during 2018-19 and 2019-10. Simplification of compliance process enabling establishments to obtain PF Code quickly through portal and facility of filing electronic challan cum return (ECR) online has promoted voluntary compliance by establishments.
Category wise analysis of industry indicates that Hospitals and Financing Establishments have shown more significant than 50% growth while Trading & Commercial establishments, Textiles and establishments providing cleaning & 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.