Retirement fund body EPFO has added over 1 crore new subscribers between January 1 and June 30 this year, Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya said today. “In the entire sixty years after Independence, the number of PF subscribers was 4.3 crore and that of ESIC (Employees State Insurance Corporation) subscribers was 1.9 crore. We have undertaken a nationwide campaign for enrolment of new subscribers. We also offered incentives for the duration of the campaign,” the Union labour minister told PTI here. “We got new 1.01 crore registrations in PF alone and under ESIC we have added 1.20 lakh new subscribers to the existing two crore,” he said. A senior ESIC official said the new subscriptions came from enrolment of about 97,000 business establishments in the past six months under the ‘Scheme to Promote Registration of Employers/ Employees’ (SPREE).
The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has invested about Rs 24,980 crore in exchange-traded-funds (ETFs) as of June 30 and the market value of this investment was Rs 28,115 crore with an absolute return of 12.55 per cent on that date, Dattatreya said. “In 2017-18, we are going to invest Rs 23,000 crore in ETFs. It is about 15 per cent of the investible amount of EPFO,” he said.
The pension body has asked the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad to study and give a report on ETF investments and disbursement of bonus from these investments, he said. Investible income is the net income of the EPFO from the investments it has already made in various forms and fresh contributions, among others. Last year, the investible income was about Rs 1.50 lakh crore, a senior EPFO official had said earlier.
The minister said the EPFO recently signed agreements with five banks for collection of provident fund and making payments of withdrawals, pension and insurance with zero transaction charges. These tie-ups with Bank of Baroda, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank will help the EPFO save around Rs 125 crore a year and expedite payment of benefits to members, he said. The EPFO, which started investing in ETFs in August 2015, currently has a corpus of over Rs 8 lakh crore.