Government may soon foot the bill for employee contribution being made by SC/ST employees towards their provident and pension funds with the EPFO.
The government has initiated a process to collect data on the number of Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) employees working in the private sector. According to The Indian Express, the Ministry of Labour and Employment has launched a survey under which it has asked establishments contributing to the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), including private sector companies, to declare the number of SC and ST employees working with them.
The survey, which is piloted by Niti Aayog, aims to seek employment data of the proportion of SC and ST employees in total employment, The Indian Express reported. The survey was initially restricted to public sector undertakings (PSUs) but was later extended to cover private companies too.
It may be noted that the SC/ST employees are not hired in the private sector on the basis of reservation as there is no legal mandate for the private firms to give reservation benefits to SC/ST employees.
According to the report, the data is being collated so as to provide SC/ST employees the financial incentives for social security benefits. Based on the outcome of the survey, the Centre is planning to eventually make the EPFO payments on behalf of the SC/ST employees while employer contribution would still be paid by companies.
The regional provident fund offices conducted the exercise all through this month. In queries sent to the companies, the regional PF offices asked them to furnish details in a four-column table to seek the name of the company, total number of employees, number of SC employees, and number of ST employees.
The government felt the need to collate data from all establishments including PSUs as it was considered that a major portion of funds allocated for SC/ST schemes were going unutilised.
As on September 23, out of the total allocated Rs 77,748.90 crore, it has released only 29.19 per cent of the allocated amount at Rs 22,694.77 crore, government data for Development Action Plan for Scheduled Castes (DAPSC) showed.