Online settlement of claims for transfer and withdrawal of provident fund may soon be possible with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation’s decision to ride the Aadhaar platform for giving permanent account numbers to its 8.15 crore members.
“This will be a part of the second phase of our IT reforms. Once we can track individual members using permanent account numbers, we will be able to provide them a range of online services,” said a senior EPFO official.
To this end, it has made mandatory for all new entrants to formal sector workforce from March 1 to have an Aadhaar number before they can enroll to the EPF. For existing members, it has set a deadline of June this year to link their PF accounts with Unique Identification (UID) numbers.
The EPFO, which has been working on a digitsation of members’ accounts, already provides online services like e-passbooks and status of provident fund balance and claim withdrawal.
It now plans to integrate the regional databases into a centralised format, enabling it to track individual members more easily.
“We want to provide online filing of forms, portability of accounts as well as automatically transfer claims into the member’s bank account,” the official said.
The retirement fund manager, which expects an 80 per cent drop in its claim settlement workload with the introduction of permanent account numbers, is in the midst of appointing the National Institute of Smart Government to work on its second phase of IT reforms.
The issue has also been raised in the last two meetings of the Central Board of Trustees where members of the EPFO’s apex decision making board called for permanent account numbers for construction workers, who lose out on social security benefits due to the migratory nature of their work.