The Employment Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), which maintains the PF accounts of all formal sector employees, does not know to exactly whom Rs 36,000 crore of its corpus belongs to.
The amount, part of its five-lakh-crore-rupee corpus, has been accumulating from 4.7 crore accounts that have not been updated for years. These are separate yearly accounts of individuals who, EPF officials estimate, form 25% of its 5.7-crore subscriber base.
The accounts assume significance when there is a face-off between the labour and finance ministries over the 9.5% interest rate promised to EPF subscribers about five months ago.
Raising objection to the rate for 2010-11, recommended by the Central Board of Trustees in their September meet, the finance ministry wanted an update on these accounts before notifying the higher rate.
Samirendra Chatterjee, central provident fund commissioner, told HT that the unusually long time taken for settling the unattended accounts is mainly because the authorities have to go back and forth to get the full details of subscriptions.
He said EPFO was computerising all its 120 offices and started receiving contribution forms in CDs.