AITUC seeks Labour Minister's intervention to fix PF rate

AITUC seeks Labour Minister's intervention to fix PF rate New Delhi: Irked by EPFO's indecision on interest rate, All India Trade Union Congress has sought Labour Minister's intervention in fixing rate for 2012-13 on provident fund of over 5 million subscribers.

In the absence any prescribed interest for this fiscal by EPFO, the claims are being settled at 8.25 percent, the interest rate for 2011-12.

The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) had slashed the rate of return to 8.25 for last fiscal from 9.5 provided in the 2010-11.

"Interest rate fixation for 2012-13, it appears, has not been put on agenda before the Central Board of Trustees (CBT) up till now... I would request you to kindly cause suitable action to be taken for deciding the EPF rate of interest for 2012-13," All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) General Secretary, Gurudas Das Gupta has said in a letter to Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge.

The Labour Minister chairs the CBT which is the apex decision making body of the EPFO and also takes final call on the rate of return for its subscribers.

An EPFO trustee and Hind Mazdoor Sabha Secretary A D Nagpal said, "Ideally it should be announced before the start of the financial year. Particularly this is causing loss to subscribers".

"As per the Employees' Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provision Act and EPF Scheme, the interest rate for the year 2012-13 should have been declared by March 31, 2012, so that settlement of accounts could be done on the interest rate of the financial year," Gupta has pointed out in his letter to the minister.

Gupta also asked the minister to raise the ceiling of wages from existing Rs 6,500 to Rs 15,000 per month for bringing more workers under the social security net through EPFO.

"The present ceiling is being misused by some employers to keep the workers out of the coverage of under the EPF Scheme," he said.

Besides, Gupta has also demanded for fixing minimum pension of Rs 1,000 per month for EPFO subscribers. At present, subscribers get pension as less as Rs 58 per month.

Nagpal said that whenever the issue comes up for discussion in the CBT, they will demand for interest rate higher than 9.5 percent.

Another EPFO trustee, All India Trade Union Congress Secretary D L Sachdev said, "We will raise the issue of interest rate in the next CBT meeting."

PTI