Govt plans to rope in private players to help run PF, insurance schemes: Report

At present, trade unions backed the idea but are sceptical that involvement of private players may lessen the benefits to its subscribers under these flagship schemes The Narendra Modi-led government is weighing the option of bringing in private players to run the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) schemes as the provident fund and medical insurance schemes are enlarged up to 10 times to about 50 crore workers, from its present coverage, reports the Economic Times on Monday. The report highlighted that Labour Ministry is making all efforts to shift towards a public-private-partnership (PPP) mode to run its provident fund and medical insurance schemes. At this present juncture, the idea is to rope in intermediate agencies on the lines of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), which manages the National Pension Scheme (NPS), according to the report. These intermediate agencies will then work ‘in areas of fund management, service delivery, benefit disbursement, record keeping and facilitation for enabling the PPP system in administering social security’, the report said. “This will help us expand the service delivery net to cater to the broad base of subscribers who are not just very large in numbers but are also very heterogeneous in their characteristics, including geographical spread, access to information, and ability to participate in this right-based system,” a senior government official told ET. The report further said that trade unions backed the idea but are sceptical that involvement of private players may lessen the benefits to its subscribers under these flagship schemes. “The government does not have enough manpower to penetrate to the grassroots levels and hence the need for roping in private players … we should support the government in all its endeavours towards inclusive growth,” Vrijesh Upadhyay, general secretary of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, told ET. However, the government official allayed fears, saying adequate measures have been recommended for exercising restraint over private players for safeguarding the interests of subscribers under the social security code. The director general of the central board will grant licence to intermediate agencies after thoroughly checking eligibility criteria marked for all work areas, the report mentioned.       Source: timesnownews