Central trade unions have slammed a move by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation to make Aadhaar mandatory for opening new PF accounts and continuing existing ones. The Unique Identification Authority of India has also said that the 14-digit number should be optional till the entire country is covered.
The EPFO, which manages the PF accounts of employees in organised employment, had earlier this week issued an order that makes Aadhaar numbers compulsory for new employees joining the formal sector from March 1, 2013, to open EPF accounts. Employees with existing EPF accounts should submit their Aadhaar numbers by June 30, 2013, the circular states. As of now, there are over six crore existing accounts with EPF.
“Such an order is absurd, and given the status of Aadhaar enrolment across the country, totally impractical. We oppose any such move by the EPFO,” said DL Sachdeva, AITUC national secretary and member, Central Board of Trustees — the governing body of EPF.
Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, the biggest union, also said it opposes the order. “We are against linking it to Aadhaar. We will take up the issue in the CBT meet next month,” Girish Awasthi, ex-president BMS and a CBT member, said.
EPF officials said the move is aimed at streamlining account management, transfers and claims disbursals. Analysts, however, say it will cause many difficulties.
“Making Aadhaar mandatory would be erroneous till a saturation stage is reached. Lack of Aadhaar should not deny anyone any service,” a senior official said.
Only 30 crore of the population has been registered till now, and most of them are in non-formal employment.