The labour ministry on Friday sought an explanation from the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) on a controversial circular that will make it difficult for the agency to initiate proceedings against defaulting employers and recover provident fund dues of workers.
Labour minister Mallikarjun Kharge is understood to have asked the EPFO to explain the urgency in issuing the circular without consulting the ministry. “Neither was it discussed with the ministry, nor was it put up before the Central Board of Trustees. It took everyone by surprise,” the official said, adding that the missive may be withdrawn or modified. Former central PF commissioner RC Mishra on November 30, his last day in service, issued the circular which has been red flagged by union leaders and has also been opposed internally.
Kharge has also raised questions on a clause for lump sum assessments of agencies that hire migratory workers on short term basis. Referring to the construction sector, the circular has barred assessments unless individual members are identified.