New subscribers to the government’s three social security schemes declined in October, showing further stress in the formal job market, data released Friday showed.

The number of new subscribers to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Scheme declined for the third consecutive month to 772,084 in October compared with 926,934 in the previous month, recording its lowest level since the start of the year, according to preliminary data released by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation.

The subscriptions to the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation, which caters to lower-paying jobs and applies to establishments with more than ten workers, also declined below the 1.3 million mark in October, reaching their lowest level in eight months.

The subscriptions to the ESIC have been declining for five consecutive months.

While the new subscriptions to ESIC were down 9%, the decline in EPF new subscribers was 16.7%. However, on a net basis, EPF subscriptions were up 1%, but they are likely to be revised downwards in revision as data on exits from the scheme is revised upwards in the subsequent months.

The national pension scheme, which has not been able to attract many subscribers, also witnessed a 3.2% decline in new subscriptions to 70,947 compared with 73,318 additions in September.The new subscriber additions to NPS are at their lowest level in four months, dragged by a 10% decline in the private sector subscribers from the previous month.Women fare better
Although the number of women subscribers to the social security schemes hovers around a fourth of total subscriptions. An ET analysis shows a slight improvement compared to the previous year.

In the first eight months of the fiscal, the share of women in EPF subscriptions was 26.2% compared with 26% in FY23. The rise was much more pronounced in ESIC jobs, where the women’s share rose to 20.8% compared with 19.6% in the previous year.

However, for the NPS, the share of women was lower in April-October 2023 at 29.1% from 31.6% in FY23.

Formal employment falls

-New job additions decline 16.7% sequentially in October

-ESIC subscriptions decline 9% sequentially

-NPS additions at lowest level in four months

(new additions)
EPF ESIC NPS
Apr-23 9,37,481 13,71,601 67,534
May-23 9,51,774 15,42,718 57,695
Jun-23 10,65,865 15,36,358 54,715
Jul-23 10,88,735 15,19,002 76,372
Aug-23 9,67,682 14,72,056 71,228
Sep-23 9,26,934 14,05,794 73,318
Oct-23 7,72,084 12,78,659 70,947
Source: MoSPI

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