Shifting Winds of Social Security

The EPFO caters to workers in medium and large establishments of the formal sector. With 6.9 crore monthly contributors on an average and over 71 lakh pensioners receiving their due every month, EPFO manages a corpus upwards of ₹17 trillion. EPFO’s corpus is a mix of debt investments worth ₹14.46 trillion and relatively recent equity investments worth ₹1.23 trillion. Statutory conditions for formal sector employers to subscribe to EPFO have also contributed to the organisation’s large corpus and membership. According to a report from November 2021, by asset size, EPFO ranks 8th among all sovereign pension funds, 18th among all pension and investment funds, and 33rd among all top asset owners of the world.
The number of subscribers who left and returned to EPFO schemes rose by 13.21 per cent to 1.38 crore in FY23, establishing the increasing relevance of actively contributing to social security in India. According to the EPFO website, more than 7.48 lakh establishments comply with the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 in the last year.
Moreover, integrating the e-Shram portal for unorganised workers with the EPFO, which caters to semi-organised and organised sector employees, has facilitated the seamless movement of employment from the informal to the formal sector. This was done by making the universal account number of 280 million unorganised workers on the e-Shram portal portable with the EPFO. It is also in line with the government’s vision to extend the social security net universally to all types of workers in India.

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