The Centre is gearing up to bring around 23 lakh anganwadi volunteers and their helpers under the ambit of Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), keeping the employers’ contribution fixed at 10%. States may have to contribute 40% of the proposed employers’ contribution, while the Centre would bear the remaining 60%. The contribution of such scheme workers towards EPFO will also be kept at 10% of the honorarium.
Anganwadi volunteers and their helpers, who are responsible for running welfare schemes for children such as the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and others meant for women, currently get Rs3,000 and Rs1,500 honorarium, respectively, per month in which the Centre contributes 60% and the states pay 40%.
However, their honorarium differs from state to state since states also pay them additionally out of their own resources for any additional work assigned to them.
“We will bring all scheme workers under the social security net to start with anganwadi workers and helpers—approximately 23 lakh under the EPFO. We are preparing a scheme in which both such workers and the government would contribute 10% of the honorarium they get now,” labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya told FE.
The highest decision-making body of the retirement fund, Central Board of Trustees (CBT), has already unanimously approved the proposal and recommended the Centre to bring in all scheme workers under the EPFO net.
Labour ministry sources said the proposal to include anganwadi volunteers and their helpers has already approved by the Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley. A committee comprising senior officials from the ministries of women and child welfare, human resource development, health and labour, under the chairmanship of labour secretary M Sathiyavathy, has been asked to prepare the guideline of the scheme. “Once the draft scheme is prepared, we will take it to the Cabinet immediately,” Dattatreya said.
Ministry sources said this is part of the overall programme of the Centre to bring all scheme workers totalling around 62 lakh, who have been working without any social security cover for over 40 years, to bring under the social security net.
The move will also help EPFO to enhance its subscriber base which currently stands at over 4 crore. EPFO gave 8.65% interest on subscribers’ deposits last fiscal.