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Govt looking at EPFO-like body for SME sector

Govt looking at EPFO-like body for SME sector
PTI
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First Published: Mon, Jun 27 2011. 07 59 PM IST
Updated: Mon, Jun 27 2011. 07 59 PM IST
New Delhi: The industry ministry is planning to evolve a framework for a privately-run body on the lines of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) for managing retirement funds and insurance in the small scale sector.
“We are coming out with a concept paper. We are giving a framework of that organisation, which can come up as a commercially viable entity in the private sector and which will takeover the obligations of SMEs,” DIPP secretary R P Singh said, adding that the paper will be out in a day or two.
The new entity, he said, will be an alternative mechanism to EPFO and the Employee’s State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).
To be set up as a private sector company or trust, Singh said, the new entity could levy charges for providing various services for the small scale sector.
The move would reduce compliance burden on the small and medium enterprises (SME), which contribute about 45% to the country’s manufacturing segment.
Singh said the organisation would collect the money or subscription and will assume all the legal responsibilities of the SMEs.
Under the current rules, a company has to follow several laws including EPF Act, ESI Act, Payment of Gratuity Act, Personal Injuries Act and Workman’s Compensation Act. It becomes difficult for small units to comply with all the statutory obligations.
“We are saying that this commercial entity will collect subscription from small scale companies to provide the same facilities at the same level like the ESIC. They will take care of the pensions funds through a trust mechanism,” Singh said.
SMEs could be given the choice to avail the services of the new entity, he said, adding that this concept is a part of the proposed national manufacturing policy.
The policy draft of the department said: “It is proposed that the setting up of one or more service organisations will be considered and making the necessary payouts in return for a charge linked to the wage bill of the company”.
It added, “Such an organisation can be licensed by the Labour Department and the industry will have the option to resort to this mechanism or comply with the extant regulations for payment of labour dues.”
On amendments required for the organisation, Singh said: “Legally the amendments required will be very minimal.”
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First Published: Mon, Jun 27 2011. 07 59 PM IST