Sunday, 25 May 2014

EPFO Settles 1.23 Crore Claims During 2013-14 Timelines Specified to Undertake Certain Tasks in the Organisation-K.K.Jalan

The Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) has specified timelines to undertake certain tasks in the Organisation, the successful completion of which would bring about a transformational change in its way of functioning. Stating this to media persons in New Delhi recently, Shri K.K.Jalan, Central PF Commissioner said “of utmost importance is the challenge of addressing portability issues of PF account numbers. It is seen that sometimes members face hardship in transferring their PF accumulations when they change their jobs and are consequently allotted new account number. The recent introduction of Online Transfer Claim Portal (OTCP) which facilitates online transfer in such cases has been successful to a large extent in tackling this issue. However, the launch of Universal Account Number (UAN) is expected to facilitate complete portability. As a first step, it is proposed to issue the numbers to the present active members by 15th October, 2014. 

He noted that introduction of Electronic Challan cum Return (ECR) has greatly simplified the process of remittance of PF contribution. A further improved version (ECR version II), incorporating new features and functionality is expected to be launched by 1st November 2014. 

In order to provide better services to the over 44 lakh pensioners under EPS, it is decided to re-engineer the Pension settlement process. The work in this regard has already commenced and the pension module is being developed and is expected to be launched by 1.12.2014. Digitisation of pension data is also contemplated in the coming months. Likewise, reconciliation of undisbursed pension amounts lying with banks is also expected to be done in next 3-4 months. 

Over the years, a number of establishments have closed down or become inoperative after getting PF code but they have not been marked as such in the establishment master record of the Organisation. It is estimated that the no. of such establishments would be more than 3 lakhs all over the country. Proper identification and marking would enable the Organization to arrive at the correct workload and consequently enable better functioning of the Compliance functions. This important task is expected to be completed in 2 months’ time. Yet another important function in the area of Compliance is the issue of code numbers to covered establishments. It has been decided to introduce online registration of establishments to obviate delays in code no. allotment and also to ensure transparency in the allotment process. It was also stated that to assess the damages and penal interest on account of belated payment of PF dues by employers new software has been launched to identify such cases. This software will help in determining the dues in a short duration. CPFC stated that efforts are being made to reconcile international workers’ data with Foreign Residents’ Registration Office (FRRO). 

EPFO is also enabling employers not having a bank account with SBI also to make payment of PF contributions online. This facility will be developed by 30.09.14 so that employers can also make electronic payment of their dues online. Though at present, 94% of benefits are delivered through e-payment, it is also decided to achieve 100% e-payment of benefits to beneficiaries through NEFT and by adopting the corporate cheque payable at par module. This is expected to be implemented by September 2014. 

Another major item of work is the actuarial evaluation of EDLI (Employees Deposit Linked Insurance). It is being examined as to whether the benefits payable under the scheme can be revised based on such actuarial evaluation. The process has already been set into motion. 

Shri K.K.Jalan, also informed that that during the year 2013-14, EPFO settled 1.23 Crore claims. 66% of these claims were settled within 10 days and 90% within 20 days. The overall settlement within 30 days was 98%. Further 94% of members’ benefits were paid electronically through NEFT/CORE Banking. During 2013-2014 EPFO updated 13.57 Crore members’ accounts leaving residual pendency of only 5% of annual accounts. 

Shri Jalan further stated that the benefits of computerization are gradually improving the service standards of EPFO and the members are being benefitted. In the current year, more than 73% members’ accounts have been updated till now. Shri Jalan stated that EPFO probably has one of the best on-line grievances redressal mechanisms in the public sector. There were 4,200 grievances were pending as on 31.03.2014. Shri Jalan stated that for the first time the EPFO has set for itself an Action Plan for the year ahead with specific time-lines. He expressed his confidence that service delivering capacity would improve substantially and stake holders will be benefitted. 

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