The Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) on Saturday failed to take a decision on investment of a percentage of its corpus fund in the secondary market and put it off for further consideration at its next meeting.

A consensus also eluded the board members on the other crucial issue of increasing the wage ceiling to Rs. 15,000 a month from the current ceiling of Rs. 6,500 for mandatory deduction of provident fund by employers.

The board deliberated on the issue of parking at least 3-5 per cent of its corpus of Rs. 2.57 lakh crore in the secondary stock market and purchasing government-backed bonds too from the secondary market with a maturity period of 10 years.

Union Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, who is also chairman of the CBT, said the board would deliberate on these issues when it met in the next two to three months.

Mr. Kharge maintained that the members asked for a more detailed discussion on the various investment opportunities, including secondary share and bond markets. This was the reason for deferring a decision on increasing the minimum wage limit for deduction of the provident fund.

Earlier in the week the EPFO’s advisory body, the Finance and Investment Committee (FIC), had not approved the Union Finance Ministry’s proposal to invest at least 3-5 per cent of the corpus fund in the secondary stock market. Representatives of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and the Hind Mazdoor Sabha B.N. Rai and A.D. Nagpal had opposed the move at the meeting.

The Finance Ministry had scaled down its proposal for investment in the secondary market to 3-5 per cent from its initial recommendation of putting in at least 15 per cent of the corpus in a bid to find a way out in the wake of opposition from the labour unions.

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