The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) added 14.60 lakh net subscribers in December 2021, registering a 16.4% year-on-year jump compared with 12.54 lakh net subscribers added during the corresponding month previous year.

The net subscriber addition in December rose 19.98% compared with the previous month of November 2021, according to the provisional payroll data released by EPFO.

Of the total 14.60 lakh net subscribers added, 9.11 lakh new members have been enrolled under EPF & MP Act, 1952 for the first time, the country's provident fund body said.

"Approximately 5.49 lakh net subscribers exited but rejoined EPFO by opting to continue their membership with EPFO by transferring their PF accumulations from previous to present PF account instead of opting for final withdrawal," it said, adding that the number of members exiting EPFO has been on a declining trend since July 2021.

The highest number of net enrolments have been in the 22-25 years age bracket with 3.87 lakh additions during December 2021, shows the age-wise comparison of payroll data. The 18-21 year age group also registered a healthy addition of around 2.97 lakh net enrolments.

"Age-groups of 18-25 years have contributed around 46.89% of total net subscriber additions in December 2021," the report says, indicating that many first-time job seekers are joining the organised sector workforce in large numbers.

State-wise comparison of payroll figures highlights that the companies covered in the states of Maharashtra, Haryana, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka led by adding around 8.97 lakh subscribers during the month, which is around 61.44 % of total net payroll addition across all age groups.

Gender-wise analysis points out that net female payroll addition during the month is about 3 lakh. Share of female enrolment is around 20.52% of the total net subscribers addition during the month of December 2021.

The "expert services" category -- consisting of manpower agencies, private security agencies and small contractors etc. -- constituted 40.24% of total subscriber addition during the month, according to industry-wise payroll data. The growing trend in net payroll additions has been noted in industries like building and construction industry, textiles, restaurants, and iron and steel among others.

The payroll data is provisional since the data generation is a continuous exercise, as updation of employee records is a continuous process. EPFO, which has been releasing payroll data from May 2018, provides provident fund, pension benefits to the members on their retirement.

According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), India had 53 million unemployed people as of December 2021, with women being a majority of them.

In order to boost employment, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the production linked incentive (PLI) scheme for various sectors while presenting the Union Budget for 2022-23. The PLI scheme in 14 sectors is expected to create 60 lakh jobs and has potential to generate ₹30 lakh crore in production over the next five years, the finance minister had said.

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