At the end of the financial year 2015-16, EPFO settled 118 lakh claims out of which 39% were settled within 3 days, 79% within 10 days and 96% within 20 days. The Organisation redressed 22,925 grievances during the month settling 95% of the grievances, leaving 1,280 grievances pending at the end of the financial year 2015-16. Out of the pending grievances, 72% of the grievances are pending disposal for less than 7 days. A total 2,21,624 grievances were redressed during the financial year 2015-16.
To widen the social security net, the government took a major decision to bring all banks under the ambit of EPF & MP Act, 1952 employing 20 more number of persons as a class of establishment, for those employees who are not entitled to the benefits of Contributory Provident Fund or old age pension in accordance with any Scheme or rule framed by the Central Government or the State Government or by the respective banks established under the Banking Regulations Act, 1949. All such banks shall be covered under the Act w.e.f 10thFebruary 2016.
The issue of coverage of contract workers has been an area of top concern and priority for EPFO. To streamline and facilitate the work of field offices, a software has been developed through which a login has been provided to both the category of establishments- principal employers-those which are registered with EPFO and those which are not registered with EPFO such as government departments. After authentication through One Time Password (OTP), the principal employer can enter details of contractor and work order, which will be segregated PIN code wise and will go to the respective portal of RO/SRO. This can be viewed online, as and when updated. It will help EPFO to verify whether the particular contractor establishments is already registered or not and its compliance position.
To bring more and more construction workers under the ambit of the Act, the month of April, May and June 2016 shall be observed as “Compliance for Construction Workers” months.
The Social Security Agreement between India and Australia has been operationalized. The agreement provides inter-alia for posting i.e detachment up to a period of 60 months for employees of both the countries. The employee of one country deputed by their employers to the other country on short-term assignment for a pre-determined period of up to a period of 60 months need not remit Social Security Contributions in that country. Thus, the employers are saved from making double Social Security contributions for the same set of employees thereby enhancing the competitiveness of their products and services. However, such exemption can be availed on the basis of “Certificate of Coverage”. The agreement has come into force w.e.f 1.1.2016. Efforts are also being made to initiate the process of such agreements with countries having large India expatriates such as countries in Middle East.
The month of March also saw several momentous decisions taken by the Organisation. This included the holding of 212th meeting of the CBT, EPF on 29.3.2016 in which several major decisions like approval of the proposal for Organisation restructuring of EPFO for addressing issues related to career progression of officers and officials, allowing interest on inoperative EPF member accounts were taken besides the launch of “Salary Software” by EPFO. This is one module of the comprehensive HR management software being developed in-house by EPFO. Also, 84th meeting of Executive Committee (CBT, EPF) held this month approved setting up of a facility for video conferencing in EPFO offices. Once implemented, this is likely to facilitate more frequent e-meetings with field formations at negligible cost.