New Delhi: Ahead of general elections, retirement fund body EPFO has decided to provide 8.65 per cent interest on PF deposits for 2018-19 against 8.55 per cent to its six crore subscribers.
“We have decided to provide 8.65 per cent rate of interest on employees’ provident fund (EPF) for 2018-19. The decision was taken with the consent of all members (trustees),” labour minister Santosh Gangwar said after the CBT meeting here.
Mr Gangwar, who chaired the meeting, said, “All members of the CBT at the meeting here agreed to give a higher interest for subscribers for the current fiscal. The proposal would now go to the finance ministry for approval. We will also convince them to provide this rate of interest.”
Earlier, highly placed sources had indicated that the interest on EPF deposits for this fiscal could be more than 8.55 per cent in view of impending general elections.
The CBT, headed by labour minister, is the apex decision-making body of the EPFO which finalises rate of interest on PF deposits for a financial year.
Once approved by the CBT, the proposal requires the concurrence of the finance ministry. The interest rate is credited into the subscribers account after the finance ministry’s approval.
The EPFO had provided a five-year low rate of interest of 8.55 per cent to its subscribers for 2017-18. The body had kept the interest rate at 8.65 per cent in 2016-17 and 8.8 per cent in 2015-16. It provided 8.75 per cent interest for 2013-14 as well as 2014-15. The rate of interest was 8.5 per cent in 2012-13.
The minister told reporters that providing 8.65 per cent rate of interest for this fiscal on EPF would leave a surplus of Rs 151.67 crore and that is why it decided to provide a higher rate this fiscal compared to 2017-18.
According to the EPFO income projections, providing 8.7 per cent rate of interest in EPF would have resulted in a deficit of Rs 158 crore.
The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation’s (EPFO) apex decision making body, CBT, deferred a decision on doubling the minimum monthly pension to Rs 2,000 to its next meeting to be held in March.
According to the proposal, doubling the minimum monthly pension would require addition outgo of Rs 3,000 crore. Thus the decision can be taken only after a go ahead by the Finance Ministry.
Now the government is in a fix to double minimum monthly pension because government has already provided for assured monthly pension of Rs 3,000 to informal sector workers under Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan Pension Yojana (PMSYM) announced in Interim Budget earlier this month.
The PMSYM has been opened for subscription from February 15, 2019.
Commenting on the minimum pension, Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) General Secretary Virjesh Upadhyay said, “There should be one minimum pension across all social security schemes run by government. Therefore, we have demanded for Rs 3,000 minimum monthly pension for the EPFO subscribers.”