Over 120K people ‘lose’ jobs during Covid-19 pandemic in Gautam Budh Nagar

NOIDA: As many as 2,500 companies in Gautam Budh Nagar have been declared defaulters for not depositing provident funds of their employees after the Covid-19 outbreak in March this year, indicating that over 120,000 people in the district have lost their jobs between March and October, officials of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) said.

According to the data provided by regional office of EPFO in Noida, the number of provident fund accounts, in which contributions were deposited, was nearly 771,000 in February this year.

Regional provident fund commissioner (zone 2), Sushant Kandwal, said that the number of PF accounts, in which contributions were deposited, has gone down to a little over 650,000 in October. “Contributions have not been made to as many as 1,20,673 PF accounts as compared to February. Even the difference between the amount deposited in February and October in PF accounts of Noida region is over Rs 23.22 crore,” he said.

Entrepreneurs also agreed that decline in PF contribution indicates that people have lost their jobs during the pandemic. Lalit Thukral, chairman of Noida Apparel Export Cluster (NAEC), said that most of the industrial units in GB Nagar district are still running with limited capacity and the maximum strength of a unit is not more than 50% in any unit. “We’ve not fired any of our employees, not even at the time of complete lockdown. Most of our workers, who preferred to go home leaving their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic, have not resumed their duties yet. It is very natural that PF deposits are directly proportional to number of employees,” he said.

Echoing similar views, Neeraj Prakash, who runs an apparel export company in Noida, said that the number of employees has started increasing in all industrial units. “I hope that once the units start running with full strength, there will be a huge surge in employment and PF contributions,” he said.

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