Savings that remain unclaimed in Employees’ Provident Fund and Public Provident Fund accounts and other small savings schemes for seven years will be diverted to finance Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund, according to new rules notified by the Finance Ministry. The Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund was announced in the last Budget. Trustees of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation termed the move as unconstitutional. Three officials — two from the EPFO and one from the Labour Ministry — told that unclaimed deposits of PF contributors cannot be diverted for any other purposes, as per the EPF Scheme, 1952. This is unconstitutional. The Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of EPFO is the highest point of authority, as per the Employees’ Pension Scheme of 1995, and government has no role to play in PF deposits. The unclaimed money has to be only diverted towards EPFO subscribers. If no claim is made for more than seven years, would it mean that you hijack the money.
S. Abhishek Ramaswamy
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)