New Delhi: In a major employment push in the formal sector at a time when unemployment is emerging as a serious concern due to a sharply contracting economy, the Union cabinet Wednesday approved Rs 22,810 crore for the third phase of Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana.
The first part of the scheme was launched on 12 November by Finance Minister Nirmal Sitharaman.
The third phase will run for a three-year period, from 2020 to 2023, and aims to benefit around 58.5 lakh employees.
It will incentivise creation of new employment opportunities during the Covid-19 recovery phase, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar said at a press briefing.
For the current financial year, Rs 1,584 crore has been allocated for the scheme.
Also read: Why Modi’s goal to make India ‘Atmanirbhar’ is going to be anything but easy
Centre to pay 24% of wages towards EPF
As part of the scheme, the Centre will provide subsidy for two years to all new employees engaged on or after 1 October 2020 and upto 30 June 2021.
In establishments employing upto 1,000 employees, the Centre will pay both 12 per cent employees’ contribution and 12 per cent employers’ contribution for two years. In other words, the Centre will pay 24 per cent of wages towards the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF).
The Centre will also pay employees’ share of the EPF contribution — 12 per cent of wages — with regard to new employees in establishments employing more than 1,000 employees for two years.
An employee drawing a monthly wage of less than Rs 15,000, who was not working in any establishment registered with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) before 1 October 2020, and did not have a Universal Account Number (UAN) or EPF member account number prior to 1 October will be eligible for the benefit.
‘EPFO will credit contribution in Aadhaar seeded accounts’
Besides, any EPF member possessing UAN and drawing a monthly wage of less than Rs 15,000, who quit job during Covid pandemic (from 1 March to 9 September) and did not join employment in any EPF-covered establishment up to 30 September will also be eligible to avail benefit.
“EPFO will credit the contribution in Aadhaar seeded account of members in electronic manner,” a government statement said.
The EPFO will develop a software for the scheme and also a procedure, which is transparent and accountable at their end, according to the statement.
It added: “EPFO shall work out modality to ensure that there is no overlapping of benefits provided under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana with any other scheme implemented by EPFO.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in June this year launched the PM Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan to empower and provide livelihood opportunities in areas/villages witnessing large numbers of returnee migrant workers affected by the pandemic.
Also read: It’s Atma Nirbhar Bihar now as BJP launches poll campaign themed on Bihari pride