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AITUC seeks Labour Minister intervention against alleged malafide campaign to reduce EPF interest rate

All India Trade UnionCongress (AITUC) on Wednesday sought Labour Ministers intervention in an alleged malafide campaign for lowering interest rate on employees' provident fund on basis of estimates of large fund withdrawals by EPPFOsubscribers in April-June this year.

The AITUC shot off a letter to Gangwar on July 29, after a report suggested that there were withdrawals to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore in April-June this year during the coronavirus-related lockdown. In the letter the Unionstated, "The whole idea behind this campaign seems to be making a case for saying that incomes are deteriorating and hence interest rate be reduced. We would request you to please get us details in the matter so that this kind of malafide campaign must be stopped."

The union further stated, "As for our knowledge goes, normal withdrawal was to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore about last time during the same time span which is not at much variance from present (in April-June this year) Rs 22,000 crore (the figures would increase year to year as the income also increases)." Earlier this year, the government allowed EPFOsubscribers to withdraw money from the EPF accounts under the COVID-19 provision. This enabled subscribers to withdraw up to three months basic wages or 50 per cent of their EPF accumulations which ever is less. Subscribers have also the option to withdraw money from their PF account on various grounds like home buying, children education, medical treatment etc.

These are also routine withdrawals claims for the EPFO. The union urged the minister to take necessary steps to get facts checked, alleging that "the campaign against the EPFOwith intention of making a case for reduction of interest rate of EPF is being carried"