In two back-to-back moves as a follow-up of a meeting with Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has sought to substantially ease the income security for post-retirement years of its members, and their families.
Firstly, the Central Provident Fund Commissioners (CPFC), V P Joy, who heads EPFO, issued instructions to all its officers to ensure that provident fund dues in case of death claims are cleared within 7 days of the claim being lodged.
This was quickly followed by another set of instruction by the CPFC that “PF claim settlement amount must invariably be credited to the member accounts on or before the date of retirement.”
Joy spelt out a series of steps that EPFO offices should take in order to ensure that the instructions are carried out without any delay. The directives come after Prime Minister, Narendra Modi expressed his desire for smoother EPFO procedures at the PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation) review meeting on October 26.
Both the moves would undoubtedly be welcomed by members of EPFO. While deductions from salary over the working life of a members is done as promptly as can be, there is no reason why EPFO should delay disbursing the accumulated corpus once the employee reaches retirement. The corpus, after, all, is solely meant to provide old-age income security during the golden years.
In a sense, the 7-day deadline for paying death claim dues is the more important one since the family or nominee of EPFO members who has died might be in facing financial stress due to the sudden stoppage of monthly flow of income. There might be several expenses that need to be covered and the provident fund money might be one of the only meaningful savings for many households.
In this day and age of technology, and with the thrust on Digital India, EPFO should further improve processes, systems and its data-base to ensure that instructions from the CPFC do not merely remain on paper and are carried out without any hiccup so that senior citizens can lead a smooth life.