NEW DELHI: The Labour Ministry has asked EPFO to provide permanent PF account numbers to its 5 crore members in a time-bound manner so that they don’t need to transfer provident fund accounts after changing jobs.

According to sources, the direction in this regard was given to the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) byLabour Secretary Gauri Kumar at the February 5 meeting of the Central Board of Trustees ( CBT), the apex decision making body of the organisation.

“Kumar asked EPFO’s Central Provident Fund Commissioner K K Jalan to apprise the board in its next meeting about the progress over the project and to provide a timeline for completing the task,” the source further said.

The next meeting, however, has not been scheduled so far. The permanent PF account number would also help provide social security benefits to workers in sectors like construction where they change contractors and place of work frequently.

According to the ‘Action Plan’ handed over by the Labour Ministry, the EPFO has to put in place a system for unique employee number which would eventually make its facilities on thee lines of core banking service.

An official associated with the project said it is not difficult to provide this facility in 2014-15 as almost all 123 field offices of the EPFO are digitised and can be connected to a central server.

To provide permanent PF account numbers to subscribers, EPFO will have to set up a central server which would be connected to all of its 123 field offices.

At present, the EPFO subscribers have to apply for transfer of PF accounts on changing jobs. They are provided a new PF account number every time they change jobs.

The EPFO in October last year started the facility of online transfer of PF account on changing jobs.

The facility of online transfer of PF accounts has reduced the work load of the EPFO substantially as over 13 lakh applications are filed for such claims every year.

The EPFO expects 1.2 crore claims in 2013-14, including around 13 lakh PF transfer claims. During 2012-13, it settled 107.62 lakh claims. Eighty eight per cent of these were processed within 30 days, as prescribed by the body’s citizen charter.