Citing a lukewarm response from companies in implementing Universal Account Number (UAN), the union labour ministry has said that only 60 lakh UANs have been activated so far from an active base of 4.17 crore provident fund subscribers.
Making it mandatory for the conversion of existing Provident Fund accounts into UANs was under consideration of the authorities, said V. Vijaya Kumar, an additional central provident fund commissioner for West Bengal, North-East and Jharkhand.
"I find that the employers are lethargic in converting their employees' provident fund (PF) accounts into UAN," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in October 2014 launched UAN for provident fund subscribers, which would enable them to link their PF accounts to this number. This would, in turn, ensure easier portability and ease in transfer of money directly to employees' bank accounts.
"The situation is particularly of concern in eastern India, where the conversion is low. In Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru and other prominent cities, where corporate culture is well rooted, the response has been good," he said while talking to reporters on the sidelines of an event organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce here.
Only 1.75 lakh of the 35 lakh active provident fund users in West Bengal had opted for UAN till now, the official added.
He said that the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) had been conducting several programmes to spread awareness about UAN and address concerns raised by employers.
Asked if the centre was considering signing more social security agreements with foreign countries, Vijay Kumar said, "Talks are on with another 22-23 countries, mostly in Europe, to conclude such agreements."
According to data from ministry of overseas Indian affairs, India has signed social security agreements with 18 countries, mostly in Europe. However, only eight of them have been implemented so far.