More formal jobs were created in January with 1.33 million workers added to the Employees Provident Fund Organisation compared to 1.25 million workers added while 1.15 million were added under the Employees State Insurance Corporation, slightly lower than the previous month at 1.22 million.

Provisional payroll data from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, released on Thursday, shows 53,927 subscribers were added under the National Pension Scheme in January, slightly higher than the preceding month at 53,040. Number of new subscribers added to NPS stood at 54,482 in November and 43,490 subscribers were added in October . The highest addition under the scheme was in April 2020 at 64,647.

Further, the numbers of exits under EPFO came down in January at 0.26 million, the lowest in the fiscal, compared to 0.57 million in December. 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.

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.

The data of formal job creation in January is in sync with the pick up in economic activity and could be on the back of several job creation incentives doled out by the government last year during the pandemic and lower number of job loses in the month under consideration, suggesting stability in the job market.

Job creation schemes like the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana , the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana were launched by the government in last year to tide over the stress on the job market during the COVID -19 pandemic.

Maximum jobs, under both EPFO and ESIC, were created in the 18-25 year age bracket during the month, signalling a pick up in fresh recruitments at the entry level. Number of new subscribers in the 18-25 years age bracket under EPFO stood at 0.44 million of the 0.82 million added.

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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