The headquarters of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) is likely to come up with yet another circular on implementing the recent Supreme Court order on higher pension. The employees in the EPFO have sought further clarifications on the circular released by the EPFO Head Office on December 29 that laid out certain procedures for submitting “options” for eligible pensioners and employees covered under the EPFO. The activists on pensioners’ rights had also voiced concerns against the circular.
The All India EPF Staff Federation secretary general R. Krupakaran said the circular, based on the verdict, has given the green signal to exercise the option to claim for higher pension for people who are currently working too. “We have not sent or processed any ‘options’ as of now, but definitely our work will increase manifold in the coming days. Since the limit of salary is just ₹ 15,000, more and more workers are likely to opt for this scheme of higher pension. A proper guidelines must be made available to all EPFO offices,” he said.
The Federation had given a detailed representation to the EPFO authorities on the delay in framing the guidelines for implementing the Supreme Court order. “The circular is silent about the proper implementation of the Supreme Court verdict. It has also failed to communicate how new applications have to be processed,” he said, adding that without a new clarification, the process of adding “options” cannot be completed in a proper manner. Mr. Krupakaran said that at present, EPFO offices are working with a small number of people in the pension sections. “Recruiting more people is the only solution. Without more staff, the EPFO will not be able to satisfy the requirements of pensioners and workers,” he added.
Activist for pensioners’ rights, Parveen Kohli, feared an attempt to hide the real facts from the Supreme Court as certain review petitions have also reached before the court. He said the December 29 circular is “just to confuse everyone”, and for trying to escape contempt of court. “The EPFO is supposed to comply the paragraph 44 (ix) of the judgment within eight weeks from November 4. It is a fact that the R.C. Gupta judgment has already been implemented through the circular dated March 23, 2017, and the pensions of 24,672 employees who retired before September 1, 2014 has also been revised. This fact had been suppressed by the EPFO from the Supreme Court,” Mr. Kohli said.