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Trade Unions in India resist EPFO’s Aadhaar mandate


Trade unions in India have taken issue with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization’s (EPFO) decision to make Aadhaar registration mandatory for its millions of existing subscribers and new members.

Trade unions have come out to say that it will be hard, if not impossible for many members to register for Aadhaar numbers, citing a cumbersome process and many areas of the country where Aadhaar registration is still not operational.

The EPFO is a body of the Government of India which administers a compulsory contributory provident fund, pension and insurance scheme. It is one of the largest social security organizations in the world in terms of the number of covered beneficiaries and the volume of financial transactions undertaken.

According to a report in The Economic Times, EPFO also recently gave directions to field staff to mandatorily ask for Aadhaar numbers from new members joining the scheme from March, 2013 and all from all existing members by June 30.

All India Trade Union Congress secretary D L Sachdev opposes this new position, and does not agree with the mandate.

“We are opposing this move,” Sachdev told The Economic Times. “All members do not have Aadhaar numbers. They should make it voluntary.”

Sachdev is also a trustee with the EPFO and has said the All India Trade Union Congress will raise the issue with the Labour Minister.

Aadhaar numbers are increasingly being used across the country to give people access to programs and resources, but not without speed bumps and issues along the way.

In December, the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) was forced to cancel 384,000 Aadhaar numbers of the total 410,000 numbers issued under a biometric exception clause as it was discovered that many agencies had exploited the clause to generate false numbers, which for each, the agency is paid a nominal amount of money.

As reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, the Indian Finance ministry has asked all public sector and rural banks to quickly implement biometric ATMs in an attempt to encourage greater Aadhaar enrollment.

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