A hassle-free step-by-step guide to deal with the EPFO

While the EPFO’s interaction with subscribers has improved, much remains to be done with what is essentially supposed to function like a bank but ends up like a tax authority. This is a guide to an essentially hassle-free experience to obtain details of EPFO

One of the biggest issues I faced with employees, as the head of a small software company, was the reality of deductions for the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). Many youngsters working in my company, benchmarking their “take-home” with their counterparts elsewhere, that employers often paid lump sum amounts to ‘consultants’. The EPFO viewed this component as a “tax deduction”. Considering the way the EPFO used to function, and often still does, making genuine withdrawals a kafkaesque procedure, in which people had to literally beg for their own money.
That aspect of the perceptions—that the EPFO will make it extremely difficult for you to get your own money back—as well as the realities of life, still persist. The forms required to be filled in for withdrawal, for example, are ancient, difficult to understand and mired in red-tape. An “advance receipt” filled in with the columns for amounts kept blank and requires the subscriber to accept whatever will be paid without demur. The methods used to calculate interest earned are also kept deliberately shielded. These are certainly not subscriber-friendly. Of course, personal interaction is still a mess. The “Public Relations Officer” behaves more like somebody running an inquisition, with touts all over the place.
However, to give one of the most moribund and closed organisations due credit, one must say “thank you” to the people on top for having literally forced their way to induce some improvements. For example, getting to know the balance in your account is now as simple as going through a one-step procedure online (, where all that is required is your subscriber/member account number, name as spelt and a mobile number. Within a few minutes your balance will be displayed to you on your mobile phone by SMS. The downside is that the balance is updated only until 31 March of the most recent financial year, so you really do not know how to keep track of exact balance as well as rate of interest applied, and a host of other details.
Your EPFO savings could be at risk, unless you secure some important aspects yourself. To read what these are, click here.
If you want a detailed year-by-year statement, like a bank passbook, which is what it should be like ideally, then you will still need to file a Right to Information (RTI) application ( This is also not very difficult—you can do so by post or going to the nearest EPFO office ( It is good to do so as it keeps them as well as your employers on their toes that as though somebody is keeping a watch on them.
Likewise, filing a claim for repayment has always been a tough job, and even now you don’t really get a numbered receipt. All you get is a rubber-stamp on what looks like a registered acknowledgement due card, and given to you by hand. This is pretty much worthless and, in the past, you could go round and round to find out where your claim form had gone. Now, once again, all you need to do is to go online, fill in the bare details, and you get not just your claim reference number, but also the position on where the claim has reached ( Here again, if you find that your claim is not moving, then a simple RTI application with the claim reference number, asking for the status of the claim, is enough to motivate the mandarins at your EPFO office. This works very well, and I can attest to it, having guided a number of people along this route.
Another important matter to keep track of is to ensure that the amount deducted from your salary is being remitted by your employers into the EPFO account. To do this, you will need to match your deductions with your balances and, if in doubt, ask the EPFO office. This, again, is best done through the RTI route.
Agreed, much of the information provided is not up-to-date, very often the claim status will just state “in process”. But at least you have some quantitative information to start with.
And as with all dealings with the government involving money, you can always seek post-facto clarifications and explanations. Things are under control so as long as people at the EPFO handling your case know that you are aware.
Good luck. And remember, your money in the EPFO is amongst the best investments out there. Just take time out to follow the simple steps outlined above. 
To read more articles written by the same writer, click here.
(Veeresh Malik had a long career in the Merchant Navy, which he left in 1983. He has qualifications in ship-broking and chartering, loves to travel, and has been in print and electronic media for over two decades. After starting and selling a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing.)



Dr Pankaj Gupta

4 years ago

Thank You so much for all this info.. really really useful to one and all. We all fear to go to this office for it entails lot of time wastage with no clue in the end.. Thanks !

BSE Sensex, Nifty under strong downtrend trend: Tuesday Closing Report

We have been warning that the market indices are in an intermediate downtrend. Unless the Nifty manages to close above 5630 tomorrow, we may see the index moving down

The market closed sharply lower on the status quo maintained by the RBI on interest rates. Today the Nifty hit a low of 5,590, which was the lowest intraday low since 8 October 2012. The index also made a lower high. The benchmark settled at 5,598, the lowest closing since 21 September 2012. We may now see the index moving further down unless it manages to close above 5,630. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw a volume of 61.22 crore shares and a volume of 415:1021.


The market opened mixed as nervousness set in ahead of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) monetary policy review. The Nifty resumed trade at 5,656, down nine points, and the Sensex started off six points higher at 18,642. The indices fluctuated between losses and gains amid volatile early trade.


Buying in banking and realty stocks on speculation of a rate cut by the central bank saw the market hitting its high shortly before the RBI announcement. At the highs, the Nifty rose to 5,690 and the Sensex climbed to 18,718.


However, the status quo by the RBI, which kept key rates unchanged, resulted in the market moving sharply down. Barring IT and technology, all other sectoral gauges were in the negative with realty, banking and capital goods emerging as the top losers.


The market continued to languish in second half of trade on a negative opening of the key European indices. An immediate increase in provisioning against restructured loans to 2.75% from 2% by the RBI resulted in banking stocks declining up to 5%.


The benchmarks dropped to their lows towards the end of the trading session as selling intensified. At that point, the Nifty fell to 5,590 and the Sensex went back to 18,393.


The market closed near the lows on the status quo on rates by the RBI in its policy review earlier today. The Nifty closed 68 points (1.19%) down at 5,598 and the Sensex tanked 205 points (1.10%) to finish trade at 18,431.


Among the broader indices, the BSE Mid-cap index declined 1.10% and the BSE Small-cap index dropped 1.26%.


BSE IT (up 0.51%) and BSE TECk (up 0.36%) were the only sectors that closed higher. The main losers were BSE Bankex (down 2.35%); BSE Realty (down 2.28%); BSE Consumer Durables (down 2.26%); BSE Capital Goods (down 2.09%) and BSE PSU (down 1.71%).


Eight of the 30 stocks on the Sensex closed in the positive. The chief gainers were Maruti Suzuki (up 2.27%); Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (up 1.58%); Infosys (up 0.99%); Hindustan Unilever (up 0.80%) and Wipro (up 0.78%). State Bank of India (down 4.43%); Tata Motors (down 3.52%); Larsen & Toubro (down 2.93%); Hindalco Industries (down 2.38%) and Jindal Steel (down 2.25%) settled at the bottom of the index.


The top two A Group gainers on the BSE were—United Spirits (up 4.44%) and Colgate Palmolive (up 4.20%).

The top two A Group losers on the BSE were—Canara Bank (down 6.05%) and Oriental Bank of Commerce (down 5.29%).


The top two B Group gainers on the BSE were—De Nora India (up 19.99%) and Ponni Sugar (Erode) (up 19.98%).

The top two B Group losers on the BSE were—DJS Stocks & Shares (down 18.18%) and Zylog Systems (down 16.81%).


Out of the 50 stocks listed on the Nifty, 11 stocks settled in the positive. The key gainers were Maruti Suzuki (up 1.75%); Dr Reddy’s (up 1.14%); IDFC (up 0.88%); HUL (down 0.82%) and Infosys (down 0.79%).


 Markets across Asia closed mostly higher as the Bank of Japan said it would enhance its assets purchase programme. However, the announcement saw the Japanese benchmark falling nearly 1%.


The Shanghai Composite gained 0.17%; the Jakarta Composite climbed 0.77%; the KLSE Composite rose 0.13%; the Straits Times advanced 0.30%; the Seoul Composite gained 0.43% and the Taiwan Weighted surged 1.28%. Among the losers, the Hang Seng declined 0.44% and the Nikkei 225 tanked 0.98%.


At the time of writing, the European indices, which opened in the red, had recovered and were trading with gains of nearly 1% and the US stock futures were mixed with a negative bias. US stock markets will remain closed for a second-straight session on Tuesday because of Hurricane Sandy, the first two-day weather-related shutdown of the markets since 1888.


Back home, foreign institutional investors were net sellers of equities totalling Rs76.57 crore and domestic institutional investors were net sellers of stocks amounting to Rs9.76 crore.


Infrastructure major Punj Lloyd today said it has recently won contracts worth Rs664 crore to build residential complexes in India and Singapore. With these contracts, the order backlog for the Punj Lloyd Group on a consolidated basis has gone up to Rs26,870 crore. The stock declined 1.72% to settle at Rs48.60 on the NSE.


BS Limited (formerly known as BS TransComm), a Hyderabad-based telecom and power infrastructure provider, has bagged orders worth Rs117 crore for the supply of 765/400 Kv transmission line towers for Power Grid Corporation and state power utilities. The stock tanked 4.55% to close at Rs195.10 on the NSE.


Muthoot Finance, engaged in the gold loan business, has raised Rs286 crore from its just concluded non-convertible debenture (NCD) issue. The company had tapped the market in September with a Rs 250-crore NCD issue with an option to retain oversubscription of up to Rs 250 crore. The stock declined 0.40% to Rs186 on the NSE.


Cable TV digitisation: Exclusive teams to verify digitisation progress in metros

The I&B Ministry has formed exclusive teams comprising technical experts to visit headends of MSOs in the four metros for cross checking preparedness for switchover and also to verify subscriber data

New Delhi: With the deadline for switching over to digitisation in four metros ending on Wednesday, the Union Government has said exclusive teams have been set up for physical verification of the progress made, even as it refuted charges about inaccuracies in the transition figures, reports PTI.


It questioned the basis of claims by some groups that only 40% of cable TV homes have opted for digitisation.


"Our data is purely based on the Census figures and the Government is transparent on the issue because digitisation process is a win-win situation for everyone," officials in the I&B Ministry underlined.


Multi-system operators (MSOs) too would not provide inaccurate data as they are registered ones and face the possibility of losing their license for doing so, they said, adding only 12% of cable TV homes are left for digitisation.


"We are very confident the data provided by them is correct data. This is a digital data. If you have installed a set top box (under the digitisation process), then it will also be reflected in the subscriber management system (SMS)," they said.


It said teams comprising technical professionals from Prasar Bharati and Broadcast Engineering Consultants of India have been constituted to visit the MSOs in the four metros.


"They are exclusive teams comprising technical experts to visit headends of MSOs in the four metros to cross check and see their preparedness for switchover and also to see the data provided by them is accurate and credible," said officials.


Headend is a master facility for receiving television signals for processing and distribution over a cable television system.


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