Trade unions have opposed the retirement fund body EPFO’s suo moto decision to make submission of Aadhaar mandatory for its over 50 million existing subscribers and new members.

Questioning the decision of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), trade union leaders said that it would be impossible for the members to provide Aadhaar numbers as the scheme was not operational in many parts of the country. Also, it was cumbersome to get the numbers in States where the scheme is operational.

“They should not have taken this decision suo moto. It should have been discussed in the EPFO’s apex decision making body, the Central Board of Trustees (CBT)”, Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh general secretary Baij Nath Rai told PTI.

Mr. Rai who is an EPFO trustee also, further said, “It cannot be done outrightly as there are a lot of hiccups in making Aadhaar number in many parts of the country.”

EPFO has recently gave direction in its order to its field staff to mandatorily ask for Aadhaar numbers from new members joining the scheme from March 1, 2013 and existing members by June 30.

Another EPFO trustee and All India Trade Union Congress Secretary D. L. Sachdev opposed the move saying that EPFO does not need to use Aadhaar number as unique account number of its members.

“We are opposing this move. All members do not have Aadhaar numbers. They should make it voluntary,” he said adding that EPFO can give unique account number of all members without using the Aadhaar number and platform.

Mr. Sachdev who is also an EPFO trustee said that AITUC would raise the issue with Labour Minister as well as take it up in the CBT meeting on February 15.

Admitting that having Aadhaar number of all EPFO members is a herculean task, another EPFO trustee and Hind Mazdoor Sabha Secretary A D Nagpal said, “I do not think that this could be done by June 30. We will ask for extension of the deadline in the forthcoming meeting of CBT next month.”

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