After a lacklustre start, the Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana (PMRPY), the Modi government’s flagship scheme to catalyse formal-sector job creation launched in August 2016, has slowly picked up momentum and the pace has accelerated in the current fiscal. While only 33,000 people could be brought under the scheme by the end of 2016-17, the number of beneficiaries has now crossed the 1-crore threshold.
According to an official release, during 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 (up to January 15, 2019) 33,031, 30,27,612 and 69,49,436 people have been enrolled under PMRPY. The number of establishments covered under the scheme, as on January 15, stood at 1.24 lakh.
PMRPY is being implemented by the labour ministry through the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). Under the scheme, the government bears employers’ entire contribution (12% of basic pay) towards employees’ provident fund (EPF) for a period of three years for employees who have been registered with the EPFO on or after April 1, 2016 and earning up to `15,000 per month. The 2018-19 Budget has an outlay of Rs 1,652 crore for the scheme.
Clearly, the scheme gained considerable traction since the 2018-19 Budget, which increased the government’s EPF contribution to 12% from 8.33% earlier and extended the scheme to all sectors. The textile sector had availed the 12% scheme (Pradhan Mantri Paridhan Rojgar Protsahan Yojana) even earlier but for other sectors, the government contribution was capped at 8.33%.
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Of course, it may not be accurate to count the schemes’ beneficiaries as those who have got new jobs. Sections of these people may have been employed by the firms already and have started getting the EPF benefits thanks to the incentive schemes.
Experts say the success of the PMRPY scheme lies in its ability to move out of informal work to formal work by providing people with the much-needed social security safety net. The terminal date for registration of beneficiaries through an establishment under the PMRPY is March 31, 2019.