NEW DELHI : As the number of provident fund subscribers opting for EPF withdrawal went up substantially during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) was left overburdened with processing of claims. EPFO offices had only skeletal staff and the number of Covid-19 withdrawal claims kept on piling up.
Turning the crisis into an opportunity, the retirement funds body then came up with the idea of having an artificial intelligence (AI)-based fully automatic claim settlement system which was set up in a record five days. "Almost 54% of the COVID-19 claims are now being settled through the auto mode," EPFO said.
Despite the shortage of manpower, EPFO brought down the EPF withdrawal claim settlement period from around 10 days to roughly 3 days for COVID-19 related withdrawals.
As compared with 33.75 lakh claims settled in April-May 2019, a total of 36.02 lakh claims were settled in April-May 2020, with less than 50% staff being able to attend work. "Apart from commitment of staff, use of artificial intelligence played a big role in achieving new benchmarks in claim settlement," EPFO said.
Automation is now helping EPFO to settle more than 80,000 claims worth ₹270 crore every day.
If the EPFO uses this AI tool to process other types of non-Covid related claims also, then claim settlement time will come down drastically in the future.
The AI tool processes claims of all eligible subscribers if they are fully e-KYC compliant.
EPFO manages social security funds of workers in the organised and semi-organised sector in India, and it has more than 6 crore active members.