The government has made the universal account number (UAN) of 280 million unorganised workers registered on the e-Shram portal portable with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).
This will facilitate seamless movement of workers between the unorganised and organised sectors, reported The Economic Times.
This is going to help workers from the unorganised sector receive coverage under EPFO’s social security net and facilitate transfer of benefits through direct benefit transfer in times of any crisis like the pandemic.
This will also make it easier for the government to track the movement of workers at any given time, a senior government official said, wrote The Economic Times.
“The registration of unorganised workers and subsequent portability of their UAN with the EPFO is the first step towards the government's plan to provide universal social security to all,” the official said.
EPFO subscribers are entitled to provident fund, pension and insurance benefits under three different schemes at the time of retirement.
When an existing EPFO subscriber moves out of the organisation to be part of an unorganised workforce, he or she can continue to avail of the benefits under the scheme.
The Social Security Code, 2020 allows the government to frame new policies for gig and platform workers and other unorganised workers under the umbrella of existing social security schemes including Employees’ Provident Fund and Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).
It is widely held belief that supply chain and ecosystem of the informal economy directly impacts the economic growth and efficiency of the formal sector and hence the wellbeing of informal sector workers is very essential.
“There are migrant workers among these unorganised workers and we have had a challenge of tracking them during the pandemic. With Aadhaar-linked UAN, this problem can be addressed and since it is portable with the EPFO, the new social security code which once implemented will help them to avail of these benefits,” said Sougata Roy Choudhury, executive director of the Confederation of Indian Industry.
According to estimates by the labour ministry, India has roughly 470 million workers. At least 100 million of them are in the formal sector and covered under the EPFO and ESIC.