India disburses US$1.8 billion in COVID-19 aid to workers

The central government has approved more than 5.2 million claims and disbursed Rs133 billion (US$1.8 billion) to formal sector workers.
By: | December 21, 2020

The disbursement was done through the Employment Provident Fund organisation (EPFO)’s special COVID-19 advance claim, said minister of state, labour and employment Shri Santosh Gangwar at a session on labour reforms at the ‘ASSOCHAM Foundation Week’ organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). 

Under the Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana (India’s unemployment welfare scheme), those insured who have lost their jobs due to the lockdown will be paid 50% of their last drawn salaries for the period of three months as employment remuneration to tide them through these challenging times, said the minister. 

“As a part of the direct help to the workforce, under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana, for all new employees who have joined the workforce between 1st October 2020 – 30th June 2021, will be paid a contribution of 24% in their EPF account for a period of two years. This benefit would be provided to employees with a salary of less than Rs15,000 (US$204) per month,” he said. 

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To be eligible for this benefit, companies with less than 50 employees will have to hire two new employees, while those with staff strength of more than 50 will have to employ at least five new staff. Those who have lost their jobs during the COVID lockdown and are reinstated would also be eligible to avail the benefit, according to APN News.  

Companies with more than 1,000 employees would get an additional benefit through a 12% employee’s contribution paid by the central government. “Through these schemes, not only new employment opportunities are created, but a direct benefit would also be passed on to the companies,” the minister said.