PF-Aadhaar link extended to December 31
The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has extended the date of linking Aadhaar cards with UAN (Universal Account Number) of provident fund holders associated with different plantation sectors to December 31 this year, much to the relief of thousands of workers associated with tea and cinchona plantations in north Bengal.
“This is a major relief for the tea workers and tea companies as the seeding process of most of the three lakh odd workers who are employed in the tea estates of north Bengal is yet to be completed. We have time and again raised this issue at concerned quarters and it is good that finally, an extension has been given. We hope the authorities of EPFO and UIDAI will see that the work is done in due course,” said Prabir Bhattacharjee, secretary general, Tea Association of India.
It may be mentioned that in June this year, the EPFO had issued an order for their staff, mentioning that the ECR (electronic challan-cum-receipt) for deposition of provident fund would be allowed only for those members or beneficiaries of the provident fund whose Aadhaar numbers are seeded and verified with their UAN numbers.
“This had led to a major problem as the Aadhaar details of thousands of tea workers did not match with their records with the EPFO. Thus, those needed to be amended. Also, because of the direction and the mismatch, tea companies could not deposit the workers’ provident fund as no ECR would be generated. That is why, the extension was sought,” elaborated a tea planter in Siliguri.
The order for seeding and verification was made compulsory through a notification made by the Union labour ministry on May 3 as per the Social Security Code that was passed on last year by the Parliament.
The extension, sources said, is also applicable for workers engage in other plantations sectors, which include cardamom, jute, pepper, rubber and cashew nut.