Keep track of your provident fund online

The Employees Provident Fund Office is more than willing to help with online facilities

Nothing can be more depressing than meeting young people who have lost their jobs due to the ongoing slowdown such as airline pilots and seafarers as well as people from the infotech industry. Many of them without the family back-up and support to continue with the lifestyle they had achieved or aspired to.

What makes things worse is that even the ‘protected’ savings like Employee Provident Fund and leave wages appear to have gone adrift. It is also not feasible, in many cases, for these young people to consider legal options for recovery as apart from placing a big question mark on their future careers, the practical part is that these legal options are not so simple and nor do they come for free.

However, specifically in the context of provident fund, the EPFO (Employees Provident Fund Office) appears to be trying to take some steps. And you can do some good work for yourself if you want to.

1) You can now find out about the latest position about balances in your EPFO account online here: http://www.epfindia.com/membbal.html. Downside is that while the response online says information up-to-date, the fine print in some cases when you get the SMS message says “account updated up to 31st March 2011”. There is also some doubt on whether the interest calculations for FY10-11 and FY11-12 have been added to this figure as yet or not.
2) The next step is to file an online grievance in this context here: http://www.epfindia.com/grievance.htm. You can ask for specific details like all deposits by your employers into your specific EPFO account here. In return you will get a very specific reference number as well as a contact person. It is reported by many that this appears to work at some EPFO offices, and is absolutely useless at some other EPFO offices.
3) The next step is to file an RTI (Right to Information) application direct to the head office of the EPFO in New Delhi, whose postal address is:
Shri Jag Mohan, (CPIO under RTI Act of India 2005 or incumbent) RPFC I,
Head Office, Bhavishya Nidhi Bhawan, 14, Bhikaiji Cama Place,
New Delhi-110066

cc Shri .B.Saini, (CPIO under RTI Act of India 2005 or incumbent), Section Officer,
Head Office, Bhavishya Nidhi Bhawan, 14, Bhikaiji Cama Place,
New Delhi-110066

The relevant email addresses are: [email protected]; [email protected] and [email protected].

Give a reference of your grievance under step ‘2’ above and seek information on action taken as well as the details requested. Full precise details including all interest calculations to date as well as information about the separately-held pension account.

An important point to remember is that the EPFO has set various accountability levels within its organisation for defaults by employers/EPFO, and they are as follows, listed in the circular appended below: http://www.epfindia.com/Circulars/Y2012-13/RRC_Cir_4149.pdf.

The good thing about EPFO was that you would eventually get your money, and meanwhile, it would keep earning interest. In one specific case involving this writer, it took about 14 years to get the money stuck with the EPFO when the company was merged with another group company—one of the top groups of the country. But after relentless follow-up, the new entity had to pay up—and it was all tax-free with interest.

This, however, is not the case anymore, as the EPFO has taken it upon itself to stop paying interest on “inactive accounts” after three years. Problem here is that an account also becomes ‘inactive’ when an employer/establishment defaults, and the withdrawal of EPFO by a claimant is accompanied by all sorts of fine print which makes his/her position weak against a defaulting employer, which is a very anti-employee step by the EPFO department.

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.)

Comments
B V Vijaya
9 years ago
A nice article. Many people are frustrated with the behavior of staff in PF office in the psst years. It is the technology helping the employee.
B V Vijaya BE CIS
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