The government has surpassed the formal employment creation target set under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana (ABRY), which incentivises employers for creating jobs.
Latest data show 7.51 million jobs were created under the scheme since its notification in December 2020, over a quarter more than the initial target of 5.85 million. New jobs created from October 1, 2020 were eligible under the scheme that ran till March 31, 2022.
Under the scheme, the government reimburses the provident fund contribution - 24% of the wages split equally between employees and employers - for two years for all new formal jobs created in enterprises having up to 1,000 employees between October 1, 2020 and March 31, 2022. It was applicable on employees earning less than Rs 15,000 a month.
Workers who had lost jobs during the pandemic period between March 1 and September 30 2020 and got employed at EPFO-registered establishments after October 1, 2020 were also eligible, subject to the wage ceiling.
For enterprises having more than 1,000 workers, the reimbursement was restricted to the employees' share of 12% to PF. The government has set aside Rs 22,810 crore for the scheme to be spent till 2024.
"As on May 31, 2022, 0.31 million establishments have registered 7.51 million new employees under ABRY," shows an internal document of the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), shared with the members of its Central Board of Trustees. "Till May 31, 2022, 0.14 million establishments have claimed benefits amounting to Rs 5,409.61 crore in respect of 5.92 million beneficiaries," it added.
As per the document, the scheme was launched to boost employment generation and minimise the socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. "ABRY has helped formalise informal employment and create new employment opportunities during and post Covid-19 pandemic," the EPFO said in the note.
It has significantly pushed up formal job creation under the EPFO. Overall, net new enrolments under the EPFO in 2021-22 was the highest ever at 12.2 million, as against 7.71 million in 2020-21, 7.8 million in 2019-20 and 6.11 million in 2018-19. The ABRY scheme also helped retain formal job creation close to pre-pandemic levels even in the pandemic year of 2020-21, despite massive job losses during the lockdown.