Amid dispute erupting over the interest rate to be paid on Employee Provident Fund for 2015-16, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has decided to back the earlier recommendation of its Central Board of Trustees (CBT) which had suggested 8.8 per cent to paid to members for the year.
Trouble has erupted after the Finance Ministry set aside CBT’s recommendation and decided to lower the rate of interest to 8.7 per cent.
“The EPFO will go by CBT’s recommendation,” Central Provident Fund Commissioner, Dr V P Joy told FeMoney. The CPFC is the head of EPFO.
Joy said that there is possibility on having a relook at the entire issue, but said that it was the prerogative of the Labour Minister, Bandaru Dattatreya, to broach the matter with the Finance Ministry. “The labour minister has to decide what further course of action needs to be taken,” Joy said.
The interest rate can be discussed and reworked till a final notification is issued on it by the government.
The finance ministry’s move to lower the interest issue has irked labour unions who have a big say in the EPFO, through the CBT which has a number of union representatives on it. Central Trade Unions have decided to go on nationwide agitation from April 29 to protest against “unwarranted intervention’ of the Finance Ministry in EPFO affairs.
Labour representatives said that Finance Ministry’s clearance is a tradition whereby the EPFO informs it of the interest rate to be paid. “Sending the proposed interest rate to the Finance Ministry is a custom where we apprise them of the rate we have arrived at,” Vrijesh Upadhyay, National Secretary, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and member CBT said.
He said that if the finance ministry felt that there were some mistakes in calculations while arriving at the interest rate, the CBT would have been willing to look into the issue. “We are ready to take a re-look if there are mistakes in calculations. Otherwise, there is no reason to overrule the CBT’s decision,” Upadhyay said.