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NSO Payroll data indicates rise in ESIC enrolment

Net new enrolments with EPFO stood at 15.29 lakh in January 2022

Pensioner Representational image | PTI

The latest NSO (National Statistical Office) Payroll data indicates a rise in ESIC enrolment in scheme, adding 12.84 lakh new members in January 2022. In indicates people are rejoining the workforce and things are looking positive post the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the report, net new enrolments with retirement fund body EPFO stood at 15.29 lakh in January 2022, up from 12.60 lakh in December 2021. It showed that from September 2017 to January 2022, around 5.08 crore (gross) new subscribers joined the Employees' Provident Fund scheme. The report, titled 'Payroll Reporting in India: An Employment Perspective - January 2022', gives different perspectives on the levels of employment in the formal sector and does not measure employment at a holistic level.

Experts told THE WEEK that NSO Payroll data indicates that there is a steady conversion from informal economy to a formal one and hence, there’s an increase in subscriber base in EPFO and ESI. “As the impact of Covid-19 has receded on the economy, we can see an increase in the number of people rejoining the workforce. At the same time, we see a rise in the gig economy and many youngsters exercising their right to stay out of EPFO. This reduces the chances for EPFO to increase its subscriber base. Every year, about 12 million new entrants come into the labour pool. We saw less than 5 million new entrants to EPFO in the last 10 months in the age bracket of 18-25. This shows a huge increase vis-à-vis 2020 though we still have a gap in creation of new jobs," said Aditya Narayan Mishra, director and CEO of CIEL HR Services.

Experts further point out that the NSO is striving hard to provide accurate, reliable information in a timely manner to make informed decisions towards the formulation of new schemes and policies. Their Payroll Reporting data shows the number of subscribers who have subscribed under three main schemes - Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Scheme, the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Scheme and the National Pension Scheme (NPS) - are adding up.

“The schemes like NPS have come at the juncture that the old pension scheme was abolished in mid 2000s including the one in government service. However, the government began a new triparty pension scheme later in 2020. As a result, the government employees have begun contributing to the scheme since then. This has helped in not only bridging data gaps pertaining to the employee status pan India, but has also provided real-time insight into the efficiency of these policies based on the number of individuals who have decided to withdraw their subscription or to stay subscribed under them for long periods of time,” said Girish Linganna, an aerospace expert and the director of ADD Engineering Components (India) Limited.

He says that it is refreshing to note that a number of reforms are being undertaken by the NSO to address the various challenges pertaining to organisation and technology that are being faced in the current system, and produce the best possible statistical data.

The NSO report points out that gross enrolments of new subscribers with ESIC were 1.15 crore in 2020-21 compared to 1.49 crores in 2018. Around 12.84 lakh new members joined the ESIC-run social security scheme in January 2021 against 15.34 lakh in the previous month, giving a perspective on formal sector employment in the country.

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