A panel appointed by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation’s (EPFO’s) Central Board of Trustees (CBT) has suggested that the pension fund body’s 17,000-strong workforce at the lowest (group C) level be pruned 11%. It has also recommended a 15% increase in the number of middle-level (group B) staff from the current 6,500 and a 7% increase in the number of officers at the top level to 1,216.
Such a major restructuring of the EPFO, sources said, has never been carried out.
The committee, in its report, also suggested creation of new offices particularly in remote areas and strengthening of the zonal offices, but voted for an overall of 3.4% downsizing or retrenchment of 834 employees from the EPFO’s total staff strength of 24,570 (as on March 31, 2015).
It recommended downsizing of manpower in service-related areas, where some restructuring had already taken place in 2006 following the recommendations of XLRI, Jamshedpur. The panel also suggested that zonal offices need to be strengthened with exclusive focus on supervision, general administration and overall superintendence and filling up of the acute gap in stenographic cadre and strengthening of the district offices.
The CBT committee, under the chairmanship of additional secretary in the labour ministry Heeralal Samatiya, was set up in December, 2015.
The XLRI report was mostly focused on service areas as computerisation did not take off by that time. With satisfactory progress in this area so far, emphasis in the current exercise has been on human resources, as compliance area which is growing now is fully dependent on the employees.
The latest report of the committee, which was placed before the CBT in its last meeting, will be largely implemented, but the board has constituted an implementation committee to operationalise the recommendations.
Sources in the ministry said after little changes, it will be rolled out in full-scale from next month.
The restructuring in the EPFO has been long pending. It is because the organisation has grown substantially in last 10 years in terms of enrolment, coverage and collection of PF contribution and settlement of claims. Subscribers’ expectations were also on the rise, but “many of the functions have become redundant with the use of IT”.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had in 2010 directed that 30% of the EPFO’s workforce should be each in time scale and junior administrative grade, 20% at the JAG level, 17% in senior administrative grade (SAG) and the remaining 3% in HAG, higher HAG and apex scale together.