New Delhi: The Union government plans to link details of about 100 million employees with Aadhaar to create a more reliable record of jobs growth and reduce duplication in payroll data, four government officials said.

The linking may also improve delivery of services related to pensions, employees’ provident fund and insurance for workers before the next year’s general election, the officials cited above said, requesting anonymity.

The Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) headquartered in New Delhi, which has an active subscriber base of nearly 60 million, has asked its 120-plus regional offices to take up Aadhaar linking on priority.

The Employees State Insurance Corp. (ESIC), which provides healthcare facilities to nearly 40 million industrial workers, recently decided to link Aadhaar with subscriber details. ESIC has decided on a financial incentive scheme to encourage companies to link the Aadhaar numbers of their employees with the subscriber details while enrolling them for health benefits under the corporation.

“There is a lot of debate going on around job growth in India. The monthly payroll data being released since April this year is facing a constant criticism—that it’s not accurate and suffers from duplication. Once you seed all the beneficiaries with Aadhaar you may be able to find a solution to this problem of duplication," said one of the four officials cited above.

EPFO and ESIC are the two key sources for tracking employment growth in the formal sector in the country. However, there is a sizable overlap of beneficiaries. In the absence of a mechanism to find the overlap, it will be tough to answer criticism, a second official argued, adding that employee details of less than 35% of EPFO and ESIC subscribers put together are linked to Aadhaar.

In recent years, political parties have latched on to employment as an election issue, realising thatjob creation is not keeping pace with the number of people entering the labour market every year. Every year, at least 12 million people are entering the labour market.

Several multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and the International Labour Organization have also raised concerns about job security and the quality of jobs.

About 10 million people joined the retirement benefit scheme of EPFO in 10 months ending June 2018, while 6 million ceased to be subscribers, government data released in August showed.

ESIC said in an email that Aadhaar registration will reduce duplication of registration and improve service delivery to its insured persons.

“Other than the jobs record, the move will speed up service delivery like payment of pension and faster settlement of PF claims. PF number portability will be smoother with Aadhar linkage with subscribers ID already having the bank account and PAN linked to it," a third official said.

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