Government Considers Extending ABRY till March 2022

The Central Government launched the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana (ABRY) as a part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 package. The ABRY provides financial assistance to the employers of establishments registered with the EPFO (Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation) to recruit unemployed persons, including the re-employment of the persons who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government launched the ABRY to incentivise new employment opportunities for unemployed persons during the COVID-19 recovery phase. This scheme provided incentives and assistance to employers for recruiting new employees from 1st October 2020 to 30th June 2021.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment is examining extending the deadline of the ABRY till March 2022 from the existing 30th June 2021 to boost fresh hiring in the country amid the pandemic. A PTI source stated that the Ministry of Labour and Employment is in the process of pushing a Cabinet proposal to extend the validity of the ABRY till March 2022.

The ABRY has benefitted about 21 lakh fresh recruits, while the government expected 58.5 lakh recruits. Since the ABRY did not meet the government expected target, the Labour Ministry is considering extending the validity of this scheme as the allocation of funds for the ABRY scheme was done for 58.5 lakh beneficiaries.

The government allocated Rs.22,810 crore for the implementation of the ABRY. Under this scheme, the government pays the mandatory EPF (Employees’ Provident Fund) contribution of the workers and the employers for recruits drawing wages less than Rs.15,000 per month. Thus, the government contributes 24% of the wages of the fresh recruits towards the social security scheme of the EPFO. 

The government provided the EPF contribution of the new employees between 1st October 2020 and 30th June 2021 under the ABRY.  Even an employee who is not working in any establishment registered with the EPFO before 1st October 2020 drawing wages of Rs.15,00 per month is eligible to receive benefits under the ABRY. 

An employee not having a Universal Account Number (UAN) or EPF member account number before 1st October 2020 will also come under the ABRY. Any employee drawing less than Rs.15,000 per month having an EPF member with UAN exited employment during the pandemic period, i.e. 1st March 2020 to 30th September 2020 and joining any establishment after 1st October 2020, will be eligible to receive benefit under the ABRY.

The government launched the ABRY to boost employment in the formal sector during the pandemic in the country. It incentivises the creation of employment opportunities under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Package 3.0. During the lockdown period in the country, many people lost their jobs. To create employment opportunities for the unemployed during the tough times, the government launched this scheme. 

Though the ABRY benefitted 21 lakh workers, it is still a tiny number compared to the number of people who lost jobs during the pandemic. Thus, the government is considering extending the validity of this scheme beyond 30th June 2021 till March 2022 to benefit and boost employment opportunities for many people.

For any clarifications/feedback on the topic, please contact the writer at mayashree.acharya@cleartax.in

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