by Fahd Khan
SRINAGAR: The employees of the Jammu and Kashmir government are up in arms against their employer’s failure to release the GP fund amount for the last several months. The delay is being seen as denial as a result of which some of the employees either suspended their marriages or lifted high-cost loans to manage the events planned at home.
The General Provident Fund has been an ideal investment for all the pre-2010 employees of Jammu and Kashmir as it is the only way to fulfil all their financial goals as a government-managed fund provides a better interest rate than fixed deposits (FD).
It is pertinent to mention here that the entire returns on the GP fund was tax-free till 2021-22 but the Aug 2021 amendment proposed taxability of interest on the GP fund in case the amount exceeds the threshold amount of five lakh rupees for all government employees and Rs 2.5 lakh for non-government employees. It also provides tax rebates to employees under 80c of the Income Tax act up to Rs 1.50 lakhs.
Almost all government employees rely on GP funds for savings and invest around one-third of their salaries in the fund so that they can meet their future demands like education and marriages of their children, or the construction of a house. Despite investing their hard-earned money many employees claim that their savings have not been released despite submitting the applications a few months ago.
“I applied for the GP fund in the month of August, and no amount has been credited yet,” a teacher said. “I had invested in a GP fund to save money for the construction of my house. What is the point of investing if your own hard-earned money isn’t released when you need it the most”.
Another government official said he has to pay the fees of his child who is studying MBBS abroad. “I am working for the government for the last 20 years and nothing like this has happened ever, so far,” he complained. “My child is continuously calling me for the fee and I don’t have an answer for him. I request concerned authorities to please release part of the savings because these are for rainy days.”
Another school teacher said his GP fund case is pending for the last six months. “I had applied for the GP fund for the construction of my house, but it is pending at the Trehgam Kupwara Treasury for unknown reasons,” he alleged. “Now, I have applied for a bank loan against which I have to pay a huge interest because I do not have any other option left.”
“Earlier the amount used to be credited in the beneficiaries’ account the very next day, the bill was submitted at the Treasury by the departments,” an official working in a peripheral treasury said.
“Many cases have been sanctioned but the amounts are yet to be released by the finance department.”
When contacted Director of Accounts and Treasuries, Abdul Hamid Kumar, refused to talk on the matter and advised to speak to the higher authorities. Director General Accounts and Treasuries, Mahesh Dass, also refused to speak on the matter and ended the phone call.