Retirement fund body EPFO has asked its field staff to clean up records as it plans to issue universal (permanent) account numbers soon to its over 5 crore subscribers.
The account number will help those workers in organised sector workers who frequently change jobs, particularly in the construction sector. It will help them to avoid filing claims for transfer of PF accounts on change of job.
"EPFO is going to soon roll out universal account numbers for its members," state the minutes of the recent meeting of high ups of the the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation chaired by its Central Provident Commissioner K K Jalan.
The number will help reduce the workload of the EPFO to a great extent. Every year, EPFO receives over 12 lakh claims for transfer of provident fund account on changing jobs by its subscribers. A subscriber with permanent account number, would not be issued new PF account number on joining new employer.
Jalan said at the meeting that cleaning up the records was very critical to the next phase of reforms in EPFO. That includes rolling out universal account number for EPFO subscribers.
According to the instructions given to field offices, the cleaning up of records would include, having registered all firms on ECR (Electronic Challan cum Return) portal, updation of records of all employers and cleaning negative balances in its subscribers accounts.
The official auditor CAG has also pointed out the negative balance in the accounts of the subscribers in its latest report for 2011-12 tabled in Parliament during the recently concluded Winter Session.
According to the report, the Interest Suspense Account balance was not a true reflection of sums available for distribution as interest to EPF subscribers, in the absence of non-updation of about 38.74 lakh subscribers' accounts as of March 2012.
"More than 70,000 subscribers' accounts reflected negative balances, indicating excess withdrawals. These reflected inadequate service to its subscribers.
"Its income was consistently more than expenditure on running of schemes. The EPFO also did not adhere to the investment pattern prescribed by the Ministry of Finance," the Comptroller and Auditor General of India said in the report.