Within a month, subscribers to the provident fund would no longer have to run from pillar to post or wait for a long time for money to be transferred when they join a new employer.
Transfers are set to go online and the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation is targeting a transfer in just three days.
The labour ministry took the first step towards online application, by issuing a revised transfer claim form for beneficiaries. It was previously termed Form 13. EPFO would be collecting digital signatures of employers in 15 days, an official said, calling it step two. The third step would be launch of web-based services. The process is expected to be completed in a month, he said.
"We don't have to wait for the entire lot to start providing the online facility. Even if we get only 100,000 employers, the process can start," he said.
Any employer can create a digital signature by spending just Rs 700 and send it to EPFO for verification, officials said.
The new facility will involve presentation of the transfer claim directly to EPFO, which will verify it either through the present employer or previous employer. Earlier, the form could be sent only after verification through the present employer. For workers who cannot access the internet, the facility to file in physical form will continue.
Online application will not only make the process for claim settlement paperless. Every beneficiary will be informed through SMS and e-mail about the stage of processing of the claim, to make the entire process transparent and accountable. After introduction of an online claim settlement, the endeavour will be to substantially reduce the assured time of settlement, which presently is 30 days. According to EPFO, 88 per cent of transfer claims are at present settled in 30 days. This outer limit is likely to be reduced to 21 days even without the online facility, officials said.
Last year, about 1.3 million workers did not get their claims settled in 30 days. There were 11.2 million transfer claims last year. However, this year, EPFO says it has so far recorded settlement within 30 days for 96 per cent of applications. The next step for the EPFO after the online transfer facility starts functioning is to make social security as mobile as banking, using the core banking model. That would take another eight months, EPFO officials said.
Secretary LEM, Dr Mrutyunjay Sarangi and other senior officers of EPFO were also present on the occasion.
| JUST A CLICK AWAY |
| Step 1: Employer registers digital signature with EPFO |
| Step 2: Worker fills online application for transfer of funds on change of job |
| Step 3: Form goes to new and old employers for signatures |
| Step 4: EPFO verifies signatures and carries out transfer to new address |