The Cabinet Secretariat has given Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) a deadline of six weeks to redress all complaints, bulk of which pertain to Mumbai and Delhi offices.
EPFO is already under scanner with the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) conducting a performance audit last year. The latest directive from Cabinet Secretariat increases the pressure on the country's largest provident fund to clean up its books and redress investors' grievances.
The delay in transferring funds or settling claims unduly increases the cost, as the provident fund has to keep paying interest on active accounts as per the EPF Act. This in turn reduces EPFO's ability to pay higher interest to existing subscribers.
The Cabinet Secretariat has asked EPFO to examine pending cases, mostly for transfer or settlement of EPF funds, on a “priority basis”, sources told FE.
Accordingly, the central office of EPFO has asked all regional offices to settle pending cases. “Every single petitions forwarded by Directorate of Public Grievances (in the Cabinet Secretariat) should be redressed within a maximum period of six weeks,” said the EPFO directive. The Directorate of Public Grievances (DPG) helps in getting responses for unresolved grievances on matters relating to certain central government departments.
According to the EPFO data, as many as 34 and 32 cases referred by DPG pertaining to EPFO's Kandivali and Bandra offices in Mumbai, respectively, have not been addressed. Some of the cases have been pending for over 3 years. Among the other cities, there are 28 cases pending in Delhi and 29 pending in Bangalore offices. These cases reflect just a small fraction of the total number of individual cases pending for settlement at EPFO.
The provident fund had planned to update accounts by March 2012, but it has not been able to clear all the pending cases.