About 9.73 lakh new subscribers enrolled with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) in September this year. In the thirteen-month series of enrollment numbers released so far, the EPFO revised down numbers for rest of the twelve months ranging from (-)2.7 per cent to (-)13.5 per cent in the latest set of data released on Tuesday.
The highest downward revision was for March 2017, down 13.5 per cent to 2.36 lakh from 2.73 lakh earlier.
September-August numbers were revised down 4.7 per cent to 69.74 lakh from 73.21 lakh last month. For September, the numbers rose from previous month’s 8.20 lakh, taking the cumulative net enrolment for September 2017-September 2018 to 79.48 lakh. In April-September, the net enrolment has been 49.71 lakh.
With the series of revisions, the enrolment numbers for September 2017-March 2018 now stand at 29.77 lakh, 24.4 per cent lower than the first estimate of 39.35 lakh (as per government release dated May 25).
The EPFO since previous two releases had revised upwards the enrolment numbers, following a change in methodology to include counting of even those who are shifting jobs. Now, the estimates are net of the members newly enrolled, exited and rejoined during the month as per records of the EPFO as against the earlier method of a difference between the newly enrolled and exited members.
The retirement fund body in its release said that the data is provisional as updation of employees records is a continuous process and gets updated in subsequent months and estimates may include temporary employees whose contributions may not be continuous for the entire year.
The EPFO had earlier in July sharply revised down its enrolment numbers, which were the basis for an ‘independent’ study released earlier this year that the government had cited as an indicator of buoyancy in formal job creation in the economy. In the July release, the government had reduced the enrolment numbers for September-March by 4.95 lakh or 12.5 per cent to 34.4 lakh.
The EPFO enrolment numbers along with data of Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Scheme, National Pension System (NPS), General Provident Fund (GPF) were the basis for a study titled, Towards a Payroll Reporting in India by Soumya Kanti Ghosh and Pulok Ghosh in January this year, which had estimated that around 70 lakh jobs might be created in 2017-18.