New portal ‘Santusht’ to be launched by Labour Ministry to resolve grievances swiftly
The plan to launch a new portal has been chalked out by the labour ministry to redress worker and employee grievances in a speedy manner. The portal, known as ‘Santusht’, will ensure that labour laws will be implemented effectively at the grassroot level. All services offered by Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), health insurance, and Employees’ State Insurance Organisation (ESIC) to the organised sector workers will be monitored by the portal initially. Other departments of the ministry will be covered by the portal eventually. Santusht will also have data on a real-time basis to evaluate the performance of every official. Employers and workers can file their complaints on the Santusht portal which will be handled by an internal monitoring cell consisting of six officers. At present, the labour ministry is working on the categorisation of the 44 central labour laws into four branch codes on industrial relations, occupational safety, wages, and social security. The ministry hopes that these 4 codes will get operational by 2020.
09 January 2020
Government proposal to allow PF account holders to decide monthly deduction
The Central government is considering a proposal to allow employees who hold Provident Fund (PF) accounts to decide how much their monthly PF will be deducted from their salaries. While reducing the PF contribution may increase the take-home salary, tax consultants have advised that it is best to avoid decreasing it. This is because while a higher salary leads to higher tax, a higher PF contribution leads to income tax exemption of up to Rs.1.5 lakh annually under the Income Tax Act, 1961, Section 80C. PF contribution is also connected to the retirement fund, so the lower the contribution, the lower will be the retirement corpus. The advise is to invest beyond the deduction limit of 12% because it gives risk-free and safe returns of 8.65% annually as of now. This is a higher than other savings or investments products such as bank fixed deposits and debt mutual funds.
06 January 2020
EPFO Assistant Admit Card released
The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) released the EPFO Assistant Admit Card 2019 on 19 July 2019. Candidates who have applied for the EPFO Assistant Exam 2019 can download the hall ticket on the official website of the EPFO (epfindia.gov.in).
In order to download the hall ticket, candidates must keep information such as his/her date of birth, registration number, and password handy. The notification to download the call letter will be sent via SMS/email. The Assistant Prelims Exam 2019 will be conducted by the EPFO on July 30 and July 31. Selections for the 280 vacancies will be via two exams, prelims and main, which will be online. The prelims exams will consist of questions based on numerical aptitude, reasoning ability, and English language. Candidates can visit the official website of EPFO and click on ‘EPFO Assistant Admit Card 2019’. On the next page, candidates can enter the relevant details to download and print the admit card.
22 July 2019
EPFO and Labour Ministry may retain the 8.65% rate of interest
Despite concerns from the finance ministry that the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) interest rates are high, the Union Labour Ministry and EPFO may stick with the interest rate that was promised to all EPF subscribers. Officials have said that they will try to convince the finance ministry to stick with the 8.65% interest rate.
The interest rate was increased from 8.55% to 8.65% for FY 2018-2019. The rate of interest is the same as it was for FY 2016-2017 but is lesser than the 8.8% that was paid for FY 2015-2016. However, according to a news agency, the finance ministry is looking to reduce the rate of interest. As per the CBT meeting that was held on 21 February, there will be a surplus of Rs.151 crore in case the rate of interest is retained at 8.65%. This amount is lesser than the Rs.586 crore surplus that was present for FY 2017-2018.
16 July 2019
2,189 Social Security Assistant vacancies available at the EPFO
A recruitment notification has been released by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) for Social Security Assistant posts. A total of 2,189 posts are available in the EPFO. The last date for eligible candidates to apply for the posts is 21 July 2019. The exam is expected to be conducted on 31 August 2019 and 1 September 2019, and selection will be based on the exam.
Individuals must be between the ages of 18 years and 27 years, must have a graduate degree from a university that is recognised, and must have a typing speed of 5,000 key depressions on an hourly basis to be eligible to apply. The three tests that the selection will be based on are Phase I/Preliminary Examination, Phase II/Main Examination, and Phase III/Computer Skill Test for Data Entry. The application fee for Ex-Servicemen/Female Candidates/PwBD/SC/ST is Rs.250, while for others it will be Rs.500, respectively. Individuals can apply for the course on the official website of the EPFO.
12 July 2019
Performance of EPFO reviewed, more than 3.5 lakh PF records digitized
The overall record of the Employees Provident Fund Organization and the digitization of all the records of the subscribers was reviewed by the commissioner of Labour and Employment Department. This meeting was attended by the Provident Fund Commissioner of Jammu and Kashmir and the Director of the Labour and Employment Department. The reviewing committee concluded that out of the 4.50 lakh subscribers of EPFO, the records of more than 3.5 lakh subscribers have been digitised. The remaining digitisation is expected to be completed by the end of January this year. Close to Rs.1.12 crore defaulter money has been amassed in the Kashmir division while Rs.16 lakh was recovered in the Jammu division. Action will be taken against the defaulters so that the benefits of the Provident Fund extends to all the organisations that are covered under this Act.
2 January 2019
SBI will stop to be the EPFO fund manager at the end of March according to the labour minister
State Bank of India, the largest lender in the country will stop its operations as a fund manager of retirement fund body by the end of March. This is because the bank cannot function as an asset management company as per the norms set in place by the Reserve Bank of India. Time has been provided till March before taking a call on who to engage as a fund manager. ICICI Securities Primary Dealership, HSBC AMC, Reliance Capital, UTI AMC, and SBI are currently the fund managers of the EPFO. UTI Mutual Funds and SBI Capital have been separately engaged by the EPFO as exchange-traded fund managers. 75 percent of the ETF investment of the EPFO is managed by SBI Capital and the remaining 25 percent is managed by UTI Mutual Funds. The proposal to increase the proportion of UTI Mutual Funds was discussed and was referred to EPFO’s finance, audit and investment committee. Investments up to Rs.550 billion has been made by the company in the ETF. Tenure for the current portfolio managers have been extended up to March 31, 2019.
10 December 2018
EPFO subscribers can now withdraw all funds within 2 months of unemployment
EPFO has made changes to its rules so that subscribers can now withdraw up to 75% of their funds a month after they are unemployed. The remaining 25% can be withdrawn after the completion of 2 months. There will be a tax levied on the withdrawn amount if the subscriber was employed for a period less than 5 years.
Over the last few years, EPFO has simplified the EPF withdrawal process to a great extent. Now, it is possible for a subscriber to make a withdrawal request online. The amount will be credited to the subscriber’s account faster as well. The government has also come up with income tax regulations to ensure that early withdrawals are not encouraged.
6 December 2018
EPFO Data Reveals 70 Lakh Job Were Created in FY 2017-18 Alone
According to the statement of the Vice Chairman of Niti Aayog, Rajiv Kumar, 70 lakh jobs have been created in the country during the financial year 2017-18 alone. Additionally, Kumar has termed the criticism of jobless growth during the NDA government as ‘spurious’. He has also added that the development in sales of transport vehicles and the massive disbursement of Mudra loans along with the EPFO data affirm that sufficient opportunities for self-employment and employment were created during the previous 4 years when the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government was in power.
Recently, former Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, said that the promise made by the BJP-led government to generate 2 crore jobs per year has turned out to be nothing but a gimmick. To this, Kumar has countered by saying that the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has not put the data regarding employment generation forward. He has further added that the debate should be targeted instead towards how to improve the quality of the jobs even more in future. Addressing the issue regarding the protests by farmers in some parts of the country, Kumar also said that the government has increased the minimum support price (MSP) for farmers by huge amounts causing the farmers’ income to rise which has led to the improvement of the rural economy.
4 December 2018
Data Reveals Creation of 9.73 Lakh Jobs in September
In the social security schemes of the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), more than 79.48 lakh new subscribers were recently added from the period of September 2017 to the month of September 2018. This information is an indication of the fact that approximately these many jobs were created in the previous 13 months.
The number of subscribers added in the EPFO scheme was the lowest in number, with the total number standing at 2.36 lakh subscribers. These many subscribers were added in the EPFO scheme in the month of March this year. During the month of September 2018, a maximum count of around 2.69 lakh jobs were produced in the age group of 18-21 years followed by a number of 2.67 lakh for the bracket of 22-25 years.
27 November 2018
More than 1 crore subscribers added to EPFO in last 2 year
Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar recently said that more than 1 crore members have been enrolled under the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) in the last 2 years. He added that the addition of new members at this rate has been possible because of the constant endeavour of the government. He said that as many as 1 crore employees have been added who work in the organised sector. However, there is a huge bulk of about 40 crore people who are working in the unorganised sector and that the main aim of the government is to bring them under the EPFO. He made the statement at the 66th Foundation Day Celebration of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). He concluded that about 1 crore employees have been added to the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) to avail its benefits. Overall, over 1 crore people have been added under the fold of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).
12 November 2018
Over 14.5 Million New EPF Subscribers Added Between September 2017 to August 2018
As per the data released by the government, over 14.5 million new employees have been enrolled in the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) scheme. This data has been released for the time period between September 2017 to August 2018.
The information is compiled and published by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI). The ministry collects data for the major EPFO schemes. Apart from the data relating to the EPF, the MoSPI also revealed that over 9.1 million withdrew their subscription from the organisation’s retirement fund scheme. Of these 9.1 million subscribers, 1.85 million subscribers re-started their subscription to the scheme.
2 November 2018
EPFO Sought Permission from EC to Recheck Code of Conduct
Indian employees’ all-time favorite retirement fund manager, Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation recently sought permission from the Election Commission of India in order to cross-verify all its the model code of conducts that is prevalent in most states. The permission was sought right before the next assembly polls to hold a board meeting, in order to discuss the same.
The central board of trustees functioning under the head of EPFO had met up recently in order to discuss the same. They had met up in the month of June and once again between October-November the council met with each other to discuss key areas such as stock market investment, linking provident fund accounts with one’s Aadhaar card, and so on.
A member of the CBT, Mr. Prabhakar Banasure recently stated that seeking permission from the Election Commission is of utmost importance as the EPFO needs to bring into clarity and streamline a horde of issues and problems that are in connection with the provident fund and submit the same to the Parliament and the Government of India during the month of December. At present, the model of code conduct is operable in the cities of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Mizoram, and Telangana which hold the election of new assemblies between the second week of November and the first week of December.
An official of the Central Government also said that there have been talks of expanding the EPFO basket by introducing more Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).
30 October 2018
9 Lakh New Jobs Were Created in August 2018 According to EPFO Data
According to the payroll job data issued by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) in August 2018, around 9 lakh individuals have received jobs in the organised sector. According to the data released for July 2018, 9.76 lakh jobs were created in the same sector. Hence, making the job creation in the formal sector for the month of August comparatively less than in the previous month. The same data depicted that 10,41,020 employees became new members of the EPFO in August 2018.
The net payroll data is derived after subtracting the total number of members exited from the total number of new EPF subscribers along with the number individuals who rejoined and resubscribed for a month. It covers organisations with 20 or more employees. On the other hand, institutions that employ less than 20 persons each, is also subjected to certain conditions and exemptions. It is a mandatory savings scheme, and the pay limit is Rs.15,000 for each month. Individuals who are drawing a pay higher than Rs.15,000 are exempted or can be enrolled with some permission or on voluntary basis. Furthermore, the total number of members subscribing to this scheme helps determine the level of employment in the formal sector. While structured data regarding the same is released on a monthly basis, the first data was for the month of September 2017. However, not a single month has registered 10 lakh jobs on a net basis, which has been set as the informal target for job creation on a monthly basis.
On a sectoral basis, expert services currently lead in the age bracket of 22-25 years. This is followed by engineers-contractors, trading (commercial establishments), and building and construction industry along with electrical, mechanical, and general engineering products. The importance of payroll data to determine the trend of job creation in the formal sector came into limelight after a study which advocated the need for monthly payroll reporting in India. According to this study, the estimated number of jobs to be created in the financial year 2017-18 stood at around 70 lakh. Even though this study faced criticism initially, the number was assessed to be at around 67 lakh based on the enrolment under the EPFO, Employee State Insurance Corporations (ESIC), and National Pension Scheme (NPS). A research has also revealed that the payroll data have the most profound impact on all high-frequency economic reports in addition to major policy implications.
29 October 2018
EPFO Warns Pensioners and Members that Calls to Withdraw Provident Fund are Fraudulent
The office of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation in Bandra (east) recently complained against an individual who was masquerading as an official of the organisation in an effort to dupe people, particularly pensioners. Pensioners and members of the organisation have been warned to be wary of a certain “Deepak Sharma” who makes phone calls to people asking them for information regarding their Aadhaar or PAN, claiming that he is from the EPFO. A complaint has been submitted to the EPFO to the Cyber Crime at Nirmal Nagar police station and the station at Bandra-Kurla Complex on 18 October. According to an official, a criminal offence was expected to be filed as well. The organisation heard about the fraudster after a number of pensioners called to ask about the same. Ritesh Bhatia, a cyber crime expert, has said that the information of subscribers has been gotten either from Darknet markets or from employees who sell the data to earn a quick rupee.
23 October 2018