More new exits than additions in EPF scheme in last 2 years

This dip could be because small units have closed down during the pandemic, say experts

By Rajit Sengupta
Published: Friday 25 February 2022
More exits than additions in EPF scheme in last 2 years Photo: iStock

More subscribers left the Employees’ Provident Funds (EPF) scheme than the number of new people who joined in the past two years, suggested the latest numbers released by the Union Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation on February 25, 2022.

In 2020-21, 8.55 million new subscribers were added to the scheme, while 9.78 million subscribers exited it. The trend continued in 2021-22 (till December 2021), with 7.9 million new subscribers and 8.18 million exits. The number of members subscribing to this scheme gives an idea of the level of employment in the formal sector.


This is a departure from the previous years. In 2019-20, 11.04 million new subscribers joined the scheme, while 11 million exited the scheme. In 2018-19, the scheme added 13.94 million new subscribers and 12.3 million exited the scheme.

The overall subscriber base would still have increased in the last two years as several exited members rejoined the scheme. In 2020-21, 8.94 million people rejoined the scheme. In 2021-22, till December, 9.52 million exited subscribers came back to the scheme.

Currently, the scheme has 64.47 million subscribers.

Arun Kumar, economist and Malcolm Adiseshiah Chair Professor at the Institute of Social Sciences, said: 

This dip could be because small units have closed down during the pandemic. The bigger issue though is that the employment numbers in India mask the scale of unemployment and underemployment in the country. This is because in India, you do not have an unemployment allowance. So if you lose the job, you are forced to find a lower paying work. 

EPF is a mandatory savings scheme under the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. It covers every establishment in which 20 or more persons are employed (and certain other establishments which may be notified by the Central Government even if they employ less than 20 persons each).

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