PF accounts of 4.5 lakh Bihar school teachers now opening
The code numbers for PF have been issued in Patna and subsequently the process for generating Unique Account Number (UAN) for all the employees will have to be taken up by the establishments concerned. Similar process has also been initiated a few other districts, though it is not clear how long it would take.Updated: Feb 06, 2020 10:26 IST
The process for opening provident fund (PF) accounts of nearly 4.5 lakh teachers appointed since 2006 through panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) has finally begun from Patna following the Patna High Court directive for compliance of the provisions of the Employees Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provisions Act.
The code numbers for PF have been issued in Patna and subsequently the process for generating Unique Account Number (UAN) for all the employees will have to be taken up by the establishments concerned. Similar process has also been initiated a few other districts, though it is not clear how long it would take.
“At present we are doing it provisionally, as the matter is still in the court. The court will take a decision on the modalities and that is something the education department has to decide,” said Regional PF commissioner R W Syiem, when asked if the accounts will be made functional from retrospective effect.
In the education department, officials feigned ignorance about any development on PF of school teachers. District programme officer (DPO), establishment, Keshav Prasad, said he was not aware about any government directive on PF of school teachers appointed since 2006.
A senior official said that the legal opinion of the advocate general had also been sought on the matter.
The problem is that the teachers have worked for nearly 14 years without any EPF facility. They now want EPF benefits from the date of their joining, creating a difficult situation for the government in the election years. The Bihar Secondary Teachers’ Association has already written to the government in this regard.
Syeim, however, said he could not comment on what the education department was doing. “But we have initiated the process. After code number generation, the establishment has to take things forward for generation of Universal Account Number (UAN), which would require Aadhaar number and other details of the individual employees,” he said.
Hearing a petition by two teachers from Muzaffarpur, the bench of Justice Ashutosh Kumar had observed on January 29 last that “it would be appropriate for the concerned authorities to let the representationists know that efforts being made to extend such privilege and that any lacklustre approach of the government in this regard would not be appreciated”.
Last year, the bench of Justice Anil Kumar Upadhyay had directed the regional PF commissioner to see that the petitioners were benefited by the EPF scheme. “Necessary action in terms of the provisions of the Act must be taken by the officer at the earliest, preferably within a maximum period of 60 days from the date of receipt/production of a copy of this order,” the bench had observed.
The petitioners had sought a court direction to the government to extend the benefits of the EPF to all teachers and librarians and others appointed under Bihar Panchayat/Nagar Nikay Elementary Teachers (Appointment and Service Conditions) Rules, 2006/2012.
It was also submitted on behalf of the petitioners that notwithstanding the stand of the regional PF commissioner that such beneficial welfare measures are extendable to contractual employees including teacher, librarian and others of the education department also, nothing concrete has been done towards implementation of such Scheme.
The petitioners also presented a communication made by the chief secretary to all the departmental secretaries for implementing the PF scheme to all the organisations where the employees are more than 20, including contractual employees.
“But to date, no effort has been made nor any contribution collected from such employees and therefore nothing has been deposited with the EPF Commissionarate. A PIL was filed in the High Court vide in 2017, wherein the division bench by order dated January 11, 2018, took note of the fact that a decision at the governmental level has already been taken and therefore the matter would not require any immediate attention under PIL,” the petition said.
In 2017, former chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh had written to all the departments, citing the letter from additional PF commissioner (UP and Bihar), to start a special campaign for enrolment of all employees – be it contractual, daily wagers or outsourced – for enrolment with EPF.
A safety net for teachers
Nearly 4.5 lakh teachers appointed since 2006 through panchayati raj institutions
Have worked for nearly 14 years without any EPF facility
Now want EPF benefits from the date of their joining
Last year, hearing a petition by teachers, HC directed the regional PF commissioner to see teachers gets EPF benefits
Code numbers for PF have been issued in Patna