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Provident Fund for the Unorganized Workers

Provident Fund for the Unorganized Workers

Provident Fund for the Unorganized Workers

State Assisted Scheme of Provident Fund for the Unorganized Workers (SASPFUW) is an initiative launched by the Government of West Bengal under the Labour Department to provide a scope of Provident Fund to the unorganised workers. SASPFUW launched with the aim to overcome the financial security needs of the workers in the unorganised sectors. The Department of Labour seeks to enforce labour laws and also facilitate the worker’s fundamental rights at their workplace. Let us look in detail about the SASPFUW scheme in this article.

To know about Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF)

Employees’ Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952

As per the EPF&MP Act, 1952, which applies to the specific factories and establishments employing more than twenty employees and ensures provident fund scheme to a small proportion of the population as smaller establishments are not included in the benefits of the Act. Subscription to the Public Provident Fund scheme qualify for deduction from the taxable income of the investor for income tax purpose within limits laid down under section 80-CC of the Income Tax Act

Eligibility Criteria

The below applicants who satisfy the below criteria can avail the benefits under this scheme

  • All Self-employed workers and daily wage earners are covered under this scheme
  • The age limit criteria of the workers must be between 18 to 60 years in the unorganized sector. 
  • The average income limit of the workers family must not exceed Rs.6500 per month.
  • The location of the job must be in West Bengal state.
  • The workers those who are already covered under the Employee’s Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act will not be qualified to apply for this scheme.

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List of Unorganised Industries

The below listed are the Unorganised Industries are as follows:d

  • Tailoring Industries with less than 20 workers
  • Shops & Establishments having less than 20 workers
  • Industrial Bakeries holding 20 workers and below
  • A workman engaged in the supply of Bakery Products.
  • Handloom Weaving Industry
  • Cottage and small scale industries/Village-based Cottage Industry (Boatman service work, Bangle manufacturing works, Firework, Chakki Mills, Kite and Kite sticks making works, Earthen pottery making, Paddy Husking, Embroidery and Zari Chicon Works)
  • Lac Industry with less than 20 workers
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)/Independent Power Producers (IPPs)
  • Automobile Repairing Garages operating with less than 20 workers
  • Security Agencies and Printing Press industries
  • Book Binding industry
  • Leather and Leather goods services
  • Hosiery and Saw Mil
  • Plastic Industry and Small Scale Engineering Units
  • Clinical Nursing Homes/Private Hospitals
  • Silk Printing industry
  • Dal Mill, Oil Mill and Bone Mill
  • Decoration, Paper Board & Straw Board Manufacturing industry.
  • Beedi Making
  • Boatman Service
  • Sericulture and Rice Mill including Husking Mill.
  • Forestry and Timber industry, Rubber Products and Foot Wear industries (Leather, Rubber, Plastic)
  • Slaughter House/Type Copying Work
  • Powerloom industry
  • Small Scale Chemical Units.
  • Iron Foundry/Brassware
  • Cashew Processing/Ceramic.
  • Khadi and Village Industries
  • Medical Plants Other than Cinchona
  • Hotel and Restaurant industries
  • Cinema industries
  • Foot Wear industries (Leather, Rubber, Plastic)

Features of the Scheme 

Some of the benefits and features of the SASPFUW scheme are listed as follows:

  • Subscription: At the initial stage, each subscriber would pay at the rate of Rs.20 per month and the State Government provided to an equal matching amount. The State Government under the Labour Department increased the rate of worker’s contribution from Rs.20 to Rs.25 per month. 
  • Contribution of Government: The State Government in the Labour Department also increased the Government’s matching contribution from Rs.20 to Rs.30 per month. The contribution of the Government will deem to be deposited in the subscriber’s account on the same day when the subscription paid by the subscriber.
  • Payment of Interest: The interest on the balance at the credit of subscribers will also be granted by the Government annually at the specified rate at which the interest is allowed on the deposit under the General Provident Fund by the State Government from time to time.
  • Final Payment: Upon attaining 60 years of age or in the event of the account becoming inoperative due to death/discontinuance as a subscriber under this Scheme, the total cumulative amount along with the rate of interest will be refunded to the workers or to their nominees or legal heirs.
  • Loans and withdrawal: A subscriber-worker will be allowed for one withdrawal of Rs.1000 granted he/she has made 48 months contributions and Rs.2500 in his/her credit. 
  • Lock-in-Period: In the case, the subscriber-worker does not want to continue as a subscriber under this Scheme, he/she would be given with the final payment of total balance lying at his/her credit account (that is the worker’s own contribution, that matches the contribution of the Government and the interest) after the date of expiry of the lock-in period of 3 years from the date of enrollment.
  • Revival of Subscriber Account: The account of a subscriber-worker will be automatically deactivated if he/she does not make any contribution continuously for 3 financial years provided that such account would be closed by the Regional Labour Welfare Commissioner (RLWC) i.e. ALC with effect from the current financial year on an application that has been made by the subscriber-worker stating reasons for such non-payment and determined to be sufficient by such RLWC. No arrear contribution would be allowed.
  • Samajik Mukti Card: This card has to be given to each subscriber-worker by the virtue of which a worker can withdraw the amount of money deposited in his account and the benefits available to the user. This scheme is wholly funded by the State Government.

Concerned Authority

  • At the Block area – The Minimum Wages Inspectors Posted at the relevant Labour Welfare Facilitation Centre.
  • At the Municipal area – The Minimum Wages Inspectors Posted at the relevant Labour Welfare Facilitation Centre and or to the respective Assistant Labour Commissioners
  • In Kolkata Corporation area – The Concerned Minimum Wages Inspector in the Labour Welfare Facilitation Centres or Assistant Labour Commissioner, Labour and Employment and MW Section.

Procedure of Financial Transaction under SASPFUW

The procedure collecting and depositing of monthly subscription and transfer of Government matching contribution to the funds under SASPFUW are set out below:

Step 1: Collecting Agents will be engaged under the SASPFUW to collect the monthly subscription at Rs.25 from the subscriber and will issue a printed slip in Form-III and deposit the collected money to the account of non-operative bank opened in each block and municipality by using the triplicate copies of Pay-in-Slip for such deposit.

Step 2: The collecting agents would submit the statement of collection from the subscribers in the Form-IV along with a duplicate copy of Pay-in-Slip to the respective Minimum Wages Inspector (MWI). 

Step 3: The amounts that are deposited in the non-operative bank accounts are then transferred to the nodal bank account that is maintained at the district headquarters.

Step 4: Nodal banks will transfer the amount that is deposited to the Public Deposit Account which is maintained at district treasury/Pay and Accounts office, Kolkata under the deposit head of account.

Step 5: The fund as received by the RLOs for the matching contribution will also be deposited to the Public Deposit Accounts that is maintained in all treasuries. The interest is also deposited in the Public Deposit (PD) Accounts.

Samajik Mukti Card

The West Bengal Government initiative “Samajik Mukti Card” aims with the citizen-centric mission of Social Security. This card has been issued to the marginal and unorganized workers in the State. The Government has taken up the responsibility of empowerment of all unorganised sector workers. The purpose is to enrol all unorganized sector workers under various Schemes and the unorganized sector workers that are covered under the SASPFUW are getting the smart cards called ‘Samajik Mukti Card’. A beneficiary will be able to have access to his/her records through this card. This card can be used by workers at unorganized sectors at any of the 68 Regional labour Offices (RLO) at districts/subdivisions as well as in 480 Labour Welfare Facilitation Centres (LWFC) in the blocks and Municipalities. Samajik Mukti Card is a photo id smart card for the unorganized workers. The card would be read from any RLO or LWFC. The records of the transaction made and/or benefits availed are electronically maintained and data is the tamper-proof and highly secured.

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