New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced the extension of Atmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojna till March 31, 2022 in a bid to boost the fresh hiring in the country amid the pandemic. “Since October 2020, about 21.42 lakh beneficiaries of 79,577 establishments have been benefitted from the scheme,’ the Finance Minister said. With an aim to create new job opportunities, the initiative was launched last year in October.Also Read - GST On Cryptocurrency Soon? Council To Take Decision Next Week | Check Details Here

Earlier, reports had suggested that the Ministry of Labour and Employment is considering extending the timeline of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) till March next year from the existing June 30. Also Read - Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur Stresses on Chess, Says Will Ensure No Stone is Left Unturned to Popularise Chess in India

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Under the ABRY approved by the Union Cabinet in December last year, the government pays mandatory employees provident fund contributions of workers as well as employers for new recruits for a period of two years.

Under the scheme with an outlay of ₹22,810 crore, workers recruited from October 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, were covered. “The Ministry of Labour and Employment is in the process of circulating a Cabinet proposal for extending the timeline for ABRY till March 2022,” sources told PTI.

The source had earlier explained that about 21 lakh new recruits are benefitted so far which is far less than government’s expectation of 58.5 lakh.

Therefore, the labour ministry would push for extending the deadline of the scheme till March next year as the allocation of funds for the scheme was done keeping in mind the 58.5 lakh beneficiaries, the source added.

During the pandemic, the government took a series of steps to boost employment generation and to give relief to workers grappling with job loss and pay cuts.

The ABRY was one of those measures. The government had allocated ₹22,810 crore for the entire period of implementation of the scheme from 2020 to 2023.