The pace of employment generation in the formal sector in India seems to have slowed down during this September, as compared to the same month in 2017. A month on month comparison of the number of new subscribers to three major schemes, namely, the Employees' Provident Fund Scheme (EPF), the Employees' State Insurance Scheme (ESIC) and the National Pension Scheme (NPS) shows that the number of new subscribers dipped in all three schemes. The new subscribers of EPF in September 2018 were 10 million as against 12.1million in September 2017. The ESIC saw 1.15 million new joiners as against 1.22 million the corresponding month, the previous year. The number of fresh enrolments to the NPS stood 41,969 in September 2018 as against 67,142 in September 2017.
This is the first month where a comparable data is possible after the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) started publishing these three sets of payroll statistics on a monthly basis only from April, 2018 onwards, with back data from September 2017. However, since the numbers of subscribers are from disparate sources, there are elements of overlap and the estimates are not additive. The ministry says that its report gives different perspectives on the levels of employment in the formal sector and does not measure employment at a holistic level.
On a cumulative basis, MOSPI's payroll reporting data indicates that 1,57,45,443 employees were enrolled as new EPF members during the September 2017-September 2018 period. The estimated total number of new NPS subscribers during the period September, 2017 to September, 2018 is 8,13,937. The numbers, especially the EPF numbers are prone to revision as 1,02,22,215 members had exited FPF rolls during the 13 month period while 24,25,082 persons were re-registered according to the EPFO records.
The Employees Provident Fund Scheme (EPF) is a mandatory savings scheme under the Employees' Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. It is managed under the aegis of Employees' Provident Fund Organization (EPFO). It covers every establishment in which 20 or more persons are employed (and certain other establishments which may be notified by the Central Government even if they employ less than 20 persons each), subject to certain conditions and exemptions as provided for in the Act.
The pay ceiling is Rs.15,000 per month. The ESI Scheme for India is an integrated social security scheme tailored to provide socio-economic protection to the workers in the organised sector and their dependents, in contingencies, such as Sickness, Maternity and Death or Disablement due to an employment injury or occupational hazard. The wage ceiling is Rs.21,000 per month. Under the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PRFRDA)'s National Pension scheme (NPS), the individual contributes to his retirement account and also his employer will co-contribute for the social security/welfare of the individual. Any citizen of India, whether resident or non-resident, individuals who are aged between 18-60 years as on the date of submission of his/her application can subscribe to the scheme. From 1st January 2004, the central and the state governments have adopted this scheme for new employees except for armed forces. This was extended to other establishments from 2009 onwards.