The country’s top auditor has not found any discrepancy in the accounts of the employees provident fund organisation, validating the fund’s decision to pay higher interest to subscribers in the current fiscal. The finance ministry, which had been waiting for the Comptroller and Auditor General’s audit of the EPFO’s balance sheets, is likely to soon notify the higher interest rate, a government official said.
“Now that the CAG report is out, we are sure that the finance ministry will notify the higher interest rate announced for the year,” a labour ministry official told reporters.
In September, the Central Board of Trustees , the fund’s highest policy making body, announced a 1% hike in interest rate to 9.5% for its 4.73 crore subscribers for the current fiscal. The increase in interest payment is to be funded by the surplus of 1,731 crore discovered in its interest suspense account which is an account of unclaimed money.
The CAG sought details of the source of the surplus money and carried out a thorough examination of the fund’s balance sheets to ensure everything was in order.
“If we had taken money from the main capital, there might have been a problem. The money that we are talking about is surplus amount that is unclaimed,” the official said.
The finance ministry had so far not notified the higher interest as it wanted to be sure that the fund’s accounts were in order.
Reportedly, the finance ministry is also not comfortable with the idea of giving higher interest rate for just one year to subscribers and moving back to a lower interest rate the next year. However, the labour ministry official denied any such communication from the finance ministry.