EPF interest rate remains unchanged; TUs protest
Dashing the hopes of its four crore subscribers, the EPF Board on Sunday decided against increasing the rate of interest for 2008-09 from the current 8.5 per cent, evoking protest from trade unions.
At a meeting of the Central Board of Trustees of the Employees Provident Fund, chaired by Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes, it was decided that the rate of interest would continue at 8.5 per cent per annum.
The Board also considered the coverage of contract employees under the EPF Act and better extension of social security cover to existing employees.
Six major trade unions, however, registered their protest over the decision claiming that the Board should have recommended a higher rate of interest.
The rate of interest remained the same as last year's and fell short of the 9.5 per cent as promised by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the trade unions said.
At the Central Board of Trustees meeting, representatives of AITUC, CITU, BMS, HMS, AIUTUC and All India UTUC registered their protest in the presence of Fernandes, who is also the chairman of the Board.
"It was only in the year 2005-06 that the rate of interest remained at 9.5 per cent," CITU secretary Ardhendu Bagchi said.
About 70 per cent of the EPFO's 33,000 crore corpus remains deposited with the government's special depository schemes.