Avoidable controversy

Avoidable controversy: The Centre’s move to appropriate unclaimed employee provident fund balances to a welfare fund is unfair...


"While the workers’ worries on unclaimed balances are valid, their opposition to raising the equity exposure of the Fund from 5 to 10 per cent stands on much weaker ground. Having won approval for a 5 per cent equity exposure last August, the EPFO has deployed just ₹7,468 crore, or less than 1 per cent of its corpus, in stocks as of June 30, earning a 7.4 per cent return. At this level the equity exposure is too small to make a material difference to the Fund’s overall returns. While high stock market valuations make this a less-than-ideal time to raise equity allocations sharply, the EPFO can probably persuade the unions on the merits of a phased increase over the next one year. Overall, the Centre should keep in mind that one too many attempts to tinker with the EPF rules create avoidable confusion among employees using it as their default retirement vehicle. It also undermines their confidence to invest in it."

M G Warrier


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