Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya today clarified that the retirement fund body EPFO will not construct houses, but become a facilitator for its over four crore members so that they can buy homes.
Labour Ministry intends to facilitate at least 10 lakh subscribers in the period of next two year by allowing them to use 90 per cent of EPF accumulations to make down payments to buy houses and use their accounts for paying EMIs of home loans. “For housing, the EPFO has nothing to do with construction of houses. It is their (subscribers) responsibility,” Dattatreya replied when asked whether the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) would build low cost homes for their subscribers.
Elaborating further about the recent amendment in the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme 1952 for facilitating members to buy homes, the minister said, “The scheme also aims to fulfil the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Housing for All By 2022’. Our EPFO subscribers will be the beneficiary of this scheme. We have 4.31 crore EPFO subscribers. We have framed norms for forming group housing societies.”
Earlier, certain section of media had reported that the EPFO will build 10 lakh homes in the next two year time for its subscribers and the body would join hands with Ministry of Urban Development for the purpose.
The minister said, “The scheme can be availed by the subscribers getting monthly basic wages of below Rs 15,000. The scheme will be aligned with the urban development ministry (programmes) and other organisations because Government of India is also giving subsidy of Rs 1.5 lakh to weaker sections (to buy houses).”
He said that the government is also providing interest subsidy for certain section of people for buying home and all benefits can be clubbed together. The minister also talked about the proposal of raising wage ceiling for coverage under the EPFO from existing Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000, which would be shortly taken up in next meeting of body’s trustees.