Unchanged interest rate on provident fund, a loyalty bonus for being a long-term contributor, extended deadline to submit Aadhaar – the government made plenty of announcements for subscribers of the provident fund scheme.
Here’s a low down on all that’s new (or unchanged):
1) Provident Fund interest rate:
The interest rate on provident fund deposits has been maintained at 8.65%, as was decided by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) in December for the deposits of 2016-17. The announcement was made by Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya after reports emerged that the government was seeking a further 50 basis points cut in the interest rates after it was lowered to 8.65% in december, the lowest rate in the last seven years.
For 2015-16 and 2014-15, subscribers earned an interest of 8.8%. Dattatreya rubbished the reports about a further cut in the PF interest rates, saying “it’s not like that. The CBT (EPFO trustees) had decided to give 8.65% Our ministry keeps on discussing (this) with the Finance Ministry.
At an interest rate of 8.65%, the EPFO would have a surplus of Rs 158 crore, Dattatreya added.
2) Loyalty bonus
The EPFO has decided to provide benefits of up to Rs 50,000 at the time of retirement to subscribers who have contributed to the scheme for over 20 years. It has also decided to provide the Rs 50,000 benefit to subscribers who have permanent disability. However, these benefits are subject to approval from the government.
3) Extended deadline to submit Aadhaar
The government has extended the deadline to allow subscribers of PF to submit Aadhaar cards to April 30, 2017. The earlier deadline was March 31, 2017. The deadline for digital life certificates for 50 lakh pensioners has been extended to April 30 to link pension accounts with Aadhaar.
4) Employees Deposit Linked Insurance scheme
Subscribers of the scheme will get a limited period minimum life insurance of up to Rs 2.5 lakh. This will be valid till April 2019 end. However, this is yet to be notified by the government.