At present, only 40% of the 11 crore subscriber accounts are active in terms of receiving monthly contribution as many subscribers continue to have multiple accounts due to delay in transfer or withdrawal of funds lying in the old accounts. The start of an online fund transfer system is helping EPFO reduce the number of inoperative accounts.
"We are undertaking a major clean-up drive. We are planning a universal or unique PF number within the next 4-5 months. With this, we are trying to bring the number of operative accounts down to 5 crore," Jalan told FE.
Last year, EPFO had tried to implement a unique number to make PF accounts portable by using the Aadhaar platform. However, the plan failed as Aadhaar enrolment itself was slow and scarce in some states where people were enrolling for National Population Register (NPR) cards.
EPFO is also drawing up plans to migrate to a double-entry accounting system, which will further help streamline the operations, he said, adding this may take 1-2 years.
Latest data show that enrolments with EPFO have grown just 3.8% in 2012-13 against 39% in 2011-12 although PF contributions grew 8.6%.
Industry watchers attribute the slowdown in enrolment to lower employment growth in the organised sector, coupled with intense competition from the National Pension System (NPS).