Employers will now be able to submit electronic return-cum-challan (ECR) only for those employees whose Aadhaar numbers have been linked and validated with universal account numbers or UANs, according to the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). The EPFO's new step reflects the government's adoption of section 142 of the social security code, which is in force from March 3, 2021 vide gazette notification No. 1730(E) dated 30.04.2021. The rules relating to Aadhaar are included in Section 142 of the Social Security Code, which require a subscriber to verify his or her identification, as well as the identities of his or her family members, using an Aadhaar number.
The EPFO has stated in a recent circular that "In compliance to the above provision in EPFo, the Competent Authority has approved ECR shall be allowed to be filed only for those members, whose Aadhaar numbers are seeded and verified with the UANs, w.e.f. 01.06.2021. The circular also states that "Accordingly, the employers shall be allowed to file the ECR only for the UANs seeded with Aadhaar, w.e.f. O1.06.2021To ensure that the members and the employers are not adversely affected in the transition phase, the following steps and measures may be undertaken by the field offices under your Jurisdiction. A zone wise pendency position is attached as an annexure, as a ready reference."
- All the employers need to be made aware of the mandatory filing of ECR with Aadhar validated UANs. Therefore, wide publicity may be ensured in this regard.
- The ROs may conduct virtual conferences and also make use of the Social Media handles to reach out to the maximum number of employers and subscribers.
- A Nodal officer may be appointed, for coordination of these efforts and to facilitate the resolution of any issues being faced by the employers and members in this regard.
- Daily progress may be obtained from the field offices, to ensure close monitoring.
Moreover, the EPFO has also given a message for Employers in its circular that "Dear Employer, with the coming into force of the Section 142 of the Code on Social Security, 2020, the ECR shall be allowed to be filed only for those members, whose Aadhaar numbers are seeded and verified with the UANs, w.e.f 01.06.2021. Accordingly, please ensure the Aadhaar seeding in respect of all the contributory members to enable them to avail uninterrupted services of the EPFO and to avoid any inconvenience."
The EPFO has also notified regarding the same through its Twitter handle that "EPFO has amended ECR filing protocol and from 01.06.2021 it can be filed only with respect to Aadhaar seeded UAN's."
According to official data issued on Sunday, June 20, the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) acquired 12.76 lakh total subscribers in April 2021. The number of EPFO subscribers increased by 13.73 per cent in April as opposed to the previous month when it was approximately 11.22 lakh. According to the Labour Ministry's data, the number of exits decreased by 87,821 subscribers in April 2021, while re-joinings climbed by 92,864 subscribers, especially in contrast to March 2021.
The Labour Ministry has also stated that "Of the 12.76 lakh net subscribers added during the month, around 6.89 lakh new members have come into the social security coverage of EPFO for the first time. Around 5.86 lakh net subscribers exited and then rejoined EPFO by changing their jobs within the establishments covered by EPFO and choose to retain membership through transfer of funds rather than opting for final settlement."