EPFO may put "in abeyance" decision to make Aadhaar mandatory

EPFO may put New Delhi: In the face of stiff opposition from trade unions, retirement fund body EPFO may put "in abeyance" its decision to make it mandatory to furnish Aadhaar number for its over 50 million subscribers and new members.

"Amid the pressure from trade unions, the EPFO is likely to put in abeyance its office order issued to field staff for collecting Aadhaar numbers of existing members and new subscribers joining the EPF scheme," a source privy to the development said.

EPFO has given direction to field staff to mandatorily ask for Aadhaar numbers from new members joining the scheme from March 1, 2013 and existing members by June 30.

Questioning the decision of the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), trade union leaders had said that it would be impossible for members to provide Aadhaar numbers as the scheme was not operational in many parts of the country. Also, it was cumbersome to get the numbers in states where the scheme is operational, unions had said.

"They should not have taken this decision suo motu. It should have been discussed in the EPFO's apex decision making body, the Central Board of Trustees (CBT)," Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh General Secretary Baij Nath Rai had said. He had also said that he would take up the matter in the CBT meeting scheduled on February 15.

Another EPFO trustee and All India Trade Union Congress Secretary D L Sachdev had outrightly opposed it saying that EPFO did not need to use Aadhaar number as unique account number of its members.

Earlier, EPFO had envisaged replacing its members' account number with Aadhaar numbers to avoid inconvenience to those who had to apply for transfer of PF money to the new account with the new employer.

It is said that this will help EPFO members, particularly construction workers, who often change their jobs or contractors.

PTI