Govt mulls raising EPFO’s investment in ETF to 15%: Bandaru Dattatreya

By: | Updated: February 9, 2017 9:42 PM

The government is looking at raising retirement fund body EPFO's investment in exchange traded funds (ETFs) to 15 per cent from existing 10 per cent, Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said today.

In the Budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced that EPFO will increase its investment in ETF to 15 per cent, he said, adding "so we have taken some steps". (PTI)In the Budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced that EPFO will increase its investment in ETF to 15 per cent, he said, adding “so we have taken some steps”. (PTI)

The government is looking at raising retirement fund body EPFO’s investment in exchange traded funds (ETFs) to 15 per cent from existing 10 per cent, Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said today. “We will discuss enhancement of raising proportion of investment in ETF from 10 per cent to 15 per cent in our next Central Board of Trustees (CBT) meeting to be held next month. After that we will hold discussions with stakeholders and our ministry will take a final decision,” Dattatreya told reporters at a press conference here.

In the Budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced that EPFO will increase its investment in ETF to 15 per cent, he said, adding “so we have taken some steps”.

The Minister further said the Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has already invested Rs 3,000 crore in the first tranche of the Central Public Sector Enterprise ETF and returns on EPFO investment into equities are coming around 8.7-8.8 per cent annually.

In September 2016, the Labour Ministry had doubled EPFO’s investment limit in ETFs to 10 per cent. At present, the EPFO corpus stands at Rs 8.70 lakh crore.

Earlier, speaking at the event organised by industry body Assocham, Dattatreya said as part of labour reforms, the government would introduce two important bills relating to wages and industrial relations in Parliament in March for simplification and rationalisation of the labour Laws.

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“Next week at the inter-ministerial meeting under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, we will take the final decision and after that we will go to the Cabinet,” he said, adding that in March (the second leg of Budget session), “both the bills would be introduced and I am hopeful it would be passed”.

According to the statement, he also said all 43 labour laws would be codified into four broad categories. Dattatreya said with the codification of labour laws, the industry would see an end to the red tape and inspector raj while the welfare of workers would also be ensured.

Replying to a query, the Minister said, “Employment generation is a top priority for the government and in the next 2 years, we will skill 3.2 crore employees of the unorganised sector.”

Talking about the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill 2017, which was passed by voice vote in the Rajya Sabha yesterday, Dattatreya said, “It is going to be more beneficial for the workers especially 35-crore unorganised sector workers so the Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill 2017 will be strictly implemented.”

The Minister pointed out that all the payments to workers according to the law will have to be made in first week of the month. “Delay in payments of wages will attract penalty. This was a long pending demand of trade unions. They were demanding it for 20 years,” Dattatreya said.

Parliament yesterday passed a bill seeking to enable the Centre and state governments to specify industrial units which will have to pay wages only either through cheques or by transferring into bank accounts.

The Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill 2017, which was passed by voice vote in the Rajya Sabha, also enables the employers to pay wages to workers through cheque or by transferring into their bank account without their written authorisation. The Lok Sabha had passed the bill on Tuesday.

The Minister also said that he will write letters to all Chief Ministers urging them to participate in a nationwide campaign to open bank accounts of all unorganised sector workers.

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