Five Developments On Your Provident Fund (PF) Money You Should Know

From interest rate for 2016-17 to Aadhaar to a new loyalty scheme, there has been a lot of news coming from EPFO or Employees Provident Fund Organisation that manages your provident fund money. EPFO has extended the deadline for submitting Aadhaar number to April 30, 2017 for its over four crore members. The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) had set March 31, 2017 as the deadline for submitting Aadhaar number earlier. EPFO has also extended the deadline for submitting digital life certificates for its over 50 lakh pensioners till April 30 to link pension accounts with Aadhaar.

Here are the other developments:
1. EPFO's subscribers will get loyalty-cum-life benefit of up to Rs 50,000 at the time of retirement for contributing to the scheme for 20 years or more. The benefit will also be provided in case of permanent disability even if the members have contributed for less than 20 years, the EPFO board has decided. The benefits will be available for EPFO subscribers after approval from the government.
2. EPFO's apex decision-making body the Central Board of Trustees (CBT) has recommended a minimum sum assured of Rs 2.5 lakh in the event of death of a subscriber. At present, the dependants of the deceased get a sum assured of up to Rs 6 lakh. There is no provision of minimum insurance and any benefit for surviving members or in cases of permanent disability under the scheme. The benefits will be available for EPFO subscribers after approval from the government.3. About 4 crore subscribers of EPFO will get 8.65 per cent interest on provident fund deposits for 2016-17, as decided by the organisation's trustees in December, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya has said. The comments follow reports suggesting that the Finance Ministry is nudging the Labour Ministry to lower the EPF interest rate by up to 50 basis points. "It is not like that. The CBT (EPFO trustees) had decided to give 8.65 per cent. Our ministry keeps on discussing with Finance Ministry. We would have surplus of Rs 158 crore on providing 8.65 per cent," Mr Dattatreya said.
4. The board of retirement fund body EPFO deferred the proposal to raise investment in stock market to 15 per cent of its investible deposits from current 10 per cent. "It was proposed to increase investments in the Exchanges Traded Funds to 15 per cent. But trade unions representatives opposed it," an EPFO trustee said after the meeting. The EPFO has invested Rs 18,069 crore in exchange trade funds (ETFs) till February 18, 2017 and yielded a return of 18.13 per cent on these investments. Earlier, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya had indicated that the EPFO will increase its investment in ETFs in the backdrop of good returns.5. Nearly four crore members of retirement fund body EPFO will soon be able to settle their claims like EPF withdrawal through mobile application UMANG. "The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) is developing online claims settlement process by receiving application online," Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.