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Money Jan 25, 2013

And now! Aadhaar mandatory for new job entrants by 1 March

By Bindisha Sarang

If you are taking up your first job anytime soon, we have some news for you.

According a PTI report, salaried employees in the organised sector will have to provide their Aadhaar numbers for seeking benefits under the employees' provident fund (EPF) scheme being operated by the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).

In fact, an official order to the EPFO field staff says: "It will also be mandatory for new members to submit their Aadhaar numbers as part of the KYC (Know Your Customer) verification from March 1, 2013."

The Aadhaar logo. Image courtesy UIDAI

The Aadhaar logo. Image courtesy UIDAI

For future employees: What this means is that if you are new to the organised workforce, you will also be new to the EPFO scheme. You will thus have to compulsorily provide your Aadhaar number as a part of you KYC credentials form 1 March this year.

For existing employees: If you are one of the 50-and-odd million existing subscribers to the EPFO scheme, you get three extra months, and the deadline for you to submit the Aadhaar number to your employer has been set by EPFO as 30 June. Of course, the circular mentions that for existing EPFO subscribers the seeding has to be done in a time-bound manner.

What to do: Well, the truth is that everybody does not have an Aaadhar card yet. Do you have one? So, what happens if in case you don't have it? The circular says that the employer has to submit your Enrolment ID number to EPFO. But, unlike what most papers reported, your employer won't be the one who will give you an EID number. Well, in such a case, you will first have to enroll for an Aadhaar card, and then you will have to provide the EID number you get after applying for the Aadhaar card to your employer who will then provide it to EPFO.

Your EID number would eventually be converted into an Aadhaar number. The EID number is a 28-digit number and works as your temporary enrolment ID (EID). Of these 28 digits, 14 digits will be the enrolment number and the remaining 14 digits will be the date and time of enrolment. This will be on top of your Aadhaar acknowledgement slip.

Looks like this move will surely push the Aadhaar card's agenda among organised sector employees.

So what's the problem:Aadhaar, which started as on voluntary basis as an individual identification number, has now been tied and made compulsory for new EPFO subscribers. This issue here is that getting an Aadhaar number is not as easy as it sounds. And, a number of Aadhaar-related frauds are being reported every few days. The number of centres for enrollment of Aadhaar as far less compared to the population base. If you just take a look at Mumbai, as per the UID official website, south Mumbai has just one centre. Mumbai has a population of over a crore, and if you go by Census of India 2011 data, the island city (predominately south Mumbai, as the data excludes the suburbs) has a population of around 33 lakh. One centre is simply not enough.

What you should do: There is a good possibility that this deadline of the EPFO move will be extended. After all, as per a report in The Times of India published today, EPFO had missed its 31 December deadline of linking payments of EPF benefits to existing members of Aadhaar card. The report said, "This pertains to 43 districts where the government is implementing its direct cash transfer scheme for subsidies on a pilot basis. However, the December 31 deadline for the job has not been met."

But, looks like sooner or later, you will have to enroll for Aadhaar, and you might as well do it sooner. Firstpost spoke to an Aadhaar enrolment agent recently and he confirmed that there are too many enquirers and not enough staffers to meet the need. The agent also said that more Aadhaar centres would be opened shortly. To get more info on how to enroll for Aadhaar visit this site. And, yes, good luck with that!

PS: The author will soon start the process of getting herself an Aadhaar card, do keep tracking this space for a first person's account on the same. Until then let us know what your experience has been as far as Aadhaar goes. After all EPFO has made it mandatory and you have no option but to comply.

by Bindisha Sarang

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