After cracking a whip on several education institutions flouting mandatory provisions of the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) Act, the regional office of the provident fund commissioner in Jalandhar has now initiated judicial inquiry against seven private hospitals for not complying with the rules even after they were issued notices repeatedly.
Sources in the PF office said the hospitals against which judicial inquiry has been ordered under Section 7(A) of the Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (EPF & MP) for the non-compliance of the essential PF norms are Apex Hospital and Maternity Home, Patel Hospital, Vasal Hospital, Swami Satyanand Hosipital, Tagore Hospital and Heart Care Centre, Sacred Heart Hospital and IV Hospital, Hoshiarpur.
The judicial inquiry has been ordered against these big hospitals for evading PF norms, mainly for showing less number of employees covered under PF.
Sources said during routine inspections recently, EPF officials noticed certain discrepancies in the provident fund accounts of these health care institutions.
Jai Shankar Prasad, assistant commissioner, regional PF office, confirmed that judicial inquiry has been ordered against these hospitals. He, however, refrained from divulging more details.
A senior official said more than 30 big hospitals situated in Jalandhar city were under the department’s scanner and the investigation wing of the regional PF office is also carrying independent queries to ascertain the actual number of employees in the hospital, remittance paid to them and their PF accounts.
After notices to certain hospitals in August this year to show record of the employees covered under PF and again giving them a chance to correct themselves in September, many hospitals have shown big increase in the number of employees covered under PF.
In this exercise, few hospitals such as Nasa Brain Care, the number of employees under PF rose from 7 to 59, at Shivam Hospital from 78 to 141, at BBC Heart Care from 5 to 82, at Satyam Hospital from 22 to 48, at Joshi Hospital from 34 to 75 and at SGL Hospital from 248 to 575.
The EPF team that also got conducted a “secret” survey from two independent agencies, apprehends that still the number of employees covered under PF are being shown in less number by the hospital managements. In these surveys it was found that the groups, including Apex, Patel, Tagore, Kindney Hospital and BBC Heart Care and Pruthi Centre, Virk Fertility Centre, Joshi Hospital and Super Scanning Diagnostic Centre and Swami Satynanada Hospital are still showing less number of employees covered under the PF.
“We are conducting our probe in this regard. Action would be initiated against all the defaulters after completing all formalities,” said the assistant commissioner investigation.
Already, several big educational groups and publishing houses working in Doaba are already under the scanner of the regional provident fund (PF) office.