To educate workers and strengthen the cause of social security, the Employees Provident Fund Office on Sunday launched a special drive to encourage EPF members to consolidate their multiple accounts.
The members whose accounts are scattered face many inconveniences such as approaching multiple employers located at multiple locations for settlement of claims. They also face the inconvenience of keeping record of multiple scheme certificates issued in the process. To know about the updated EPF balances, they need to approach multiple offices. With consolidation, a member can have complete control of his EPF account apart from accessing variety of IT enabled services such as email/sms alerts, access to e-pass book etc.
Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, while presiding over a function marking International Workers’ Day, launched a special Mission consolidation drive “One Employee-One EPF Account” for members of the EPFO.
Dattatreya, on the occasion stated that in the recent past, EPFO has taken several IT based initiatives to provide convenient and efficient services to its stakeholders. The initiative of launching the Mission consolidation “One Member One EPF Account” is a step towards encouraging EPF members to access enhanced IT enabled services through UAN accounts that are linked with Aadhaar.
The Union Minister also informed that this drive would result in EPF members having just one EPF account and multiple conveniences. The Universal Account Number that is Aadhar seeded will consolidate multiple past service accounts, across various spells of employment during working life of an EPF member.
Shankar Aggarwal, Secretary (Labour & Employment) elaborated that the EPF member would be requested to provide all his earlier EPF accounts along with his UAN linked account, Member ID and registered Mobile Number. And EPFO would facilitate the transfer of all these accounts into his present account. Instructions have been issued to establishments that in case any new employee joins an establishment, they may furnish, UAN, if any, allotted to the member earlier, or declare that s/he is becoming a PF member for the first time.
Dr. V.P. Joy, Central Provident Fund Commissioner added that the success of this drive would reduce not only the burden of members but would also result in ease of work for EPF employees. Similar to other IT initiatives taken by EPFO that have brought transparency and efficiency in the working of EPFO, the success of this drive would further strengthen the bond between EPFO and EPF members.
By the end of April 2016, UAN has been issued to some 67716584 members. EPFO has been advising members to link all their PF account numbers with the UAN and to also seed KYC data against their UAN number. Aadhaar has been uploaded against 1.30 crore UAN, out of which 1.03 crore Aadhaar have been digitally authenticated by the establishments. The establishments are advised to upload and then digitally authenticate the KYC information. KYC primarily means Aadhaar, PAN and Bank Account. With the enactment of Aadhaar Act, 2016 (26th March 2016), EPFO is now seeking to make Aadhaar, the primary identifier. Members having Aadhaar seeded UAN, saves the inconvenience of claims forms attestation by the employers.
Explaining the benefits of integration of members’ multiple PF accounts Dr. Joy said that consolidated accounts enable continuance of lifelong PF membership, and allow PF, pension and insurance benefits on combined service. Today, large number of members are unaware of Pension benefits that can come through consolidation, defeating the very soul of the EPF legislation. EPFO therefore seeks to encourage members to continue their PF membership by offering increasingly better services and ease of convenience. Larger aim is to help members to upgrade their quantum and variety of benefits being offered by EPFO.
In order to boost the process of seeding the Universal Account Number (UAN) with KYC, an “Incentive Scheme” has been launched for the employers. Under this scheme a claim refund of upto 10% of administrative charges payable to EPFO can be claimed upon completing specified tasks (furnishing member information and digitally authenticated KYC details). The Scheme shall be in operation for one year, beginning 1st January 2016 to 31st December, 2016. (INN)