Formal job creation rebounded in December with 1.25 million workers added to the Employees Provident Fund Organisation, a growth of 24% compared to December 2019 while 1.20 million were added under the Employees State Insurance Corporation, the highest so far in the fiscal.

The date of formal job creation in December, which corroborates with the pick up in economic activity, could be on the back of job cretaion incentives doled out by the government last year and lower number of job loses in the month under consideration, suggesting stability in job market.

Provisional payroll data from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, released on Thursday, shows numbers of exits under EPFO came down significantly in December at 0.29 million EPFO in December 2020, the lowest in the fiscal. The number of subscribers added under EPFO in November stood at 1.01 million compared to 1.05 million in October and 1.33 million in September.

“The policy support for formalization of the economy through ABRY (Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana ), PMGKY (Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana) and PMRPY (Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana) schemes of government of India, amid COVID -19 pandemic have helped,” it said.

Net additions under ESIC stood at 0.93 million in November, 1.19 million in October and 1.15 million in September. Average monthly addition under ESIC in 2019-20 stood at 1.2 million.

However, the number of subscribers added to the National Pension Scheme stood at 53,040, a tad lower compared to 54,482 new subscribers added to it in November. The highest addition under the scheme was in April 2020 at 64,647 while net addition in October was 43,490.

“In view of the national lockdown consequent to the COVID-19 pandemic, several establishments were closed and which may have had implications on the reporting. The reported figures are thus likely to undergo significant revision in the next few months,” Mospi said in a statement.

Mospi has been bringing out the employment related statistics in the formal sector covering the period September 2017 onwards, using information on the number of subscribers who have subscribed under three major schemes, namely the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Scheme, the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Scheme and the National Pension Scheme (NPS).

With the imposition of lockdown in the last week of March, the net enrolments in EPFO fell to 0.572 million in March 2020 from 1.02 million in February. During 2019-20, the number of net new subscribers rose to 7.85 million as compared to 6.11 million in the preceding fiscal. Even ESIC saw its net addition falling to a dismal low of 0.263 million in April after which it started picking up and touched a high of 1.19 million in October 2020.

While EPF is applicable to establishments having more than 20 workers earning wages up to Rs 15,000 a month, ESIC applies to firms and establishments with 10 or more employees with wages up to Rs 21,000 a month.

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