New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon launch a smart card scheme for over 40 crore unorganised workers in the country to provide them various social security benefits like insurance and pension.
“Within one month Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch smart card called UWIN (Unorganised Workers’ Identification Number) card. We had sought time from the Prime Minister for launching it for over 40 crore workers in the country,” Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya told reporters at launch of Global Network Operations Centre (g-NOC) of EPFO here.
The minister said that through the UWIN card, government wants to provide social security to all those people who are not covered either by Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) or Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).
He said that the UWIN card will be a chip-based instrument to provide benefit to these workers and their family under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), Atal Pension Yojana, Aam Admi Bima Yojana (AABY), Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana.
The minister said that the entire task of issuing smart cards to all informal sector workers would take at least two years time and government will issue 10 crore such cards in the first phase.
Asked about Centre’s plan to invest funds lying in dormant EPF accounts, the minister said, “We are custodian of the workers’ money. The worker can come and claim his or her funds.
Elaborating further, Labour Secretary Shankar Aggarwal
said, “Finance Ministry is working on how to use around Rs 30,000 crore in inoperative accounts without compromising on workers right. Labour Ministry has no right over that money.”
Inoperative accounts are those accounts where contribution is not made for more than 36 months. EPFO does not credit interest in these accounts once these became inoperative. However holders of these accounts can claim withdrawal.
On the possibility of providing 9 per cent rate of interest to over five crore subscribers of the EPFO for 2015-16, the Minister said that Centre Board of Trustees’ will take a call on it on February 16 at its meeting in Chennai.
There is possibility that EPFO may pay 9 per cent rate of interest for the current fiscal as providing 8.95 per cent will leave a surplus of over Rs 100 crore as per September calculations of the EPFO worked out in September.
An EPFO trustee had earlier told