J&K’s PF Kitty Surges to 1200 Cr

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R S Gull
J&K’s Employees Provident Fund boasts of having a Rs. 1200 crores corpus. But it still has failed in recovering around Rs. 86 crores outstanding against various PSUs. The organisation manned by the Labour Department lacks a proper audit since 1997-98 and has no proper balance sheet for last eight years.
Set up in 1961 with 5640 members, the organization has now around 250 thousand members in around 9000 units across the state. Over the years its income (5 percent of total contributions plus half percent of total salaries of subscribing units) has almost doubled than its expenditure and it is still growing. For the current fiscal it is getting an income of Rs. 4.20 crores against an expenditure of Rs. 2.80 crores. In 2007-08, it spent only Rs. 2.28 crores against an income of Rs. 4.17 crores (see table on the INDEX page).
“The numbers and the coverage is growing,” an official said. “For the last three years we are maintaining a growth trajectory – 799 news units in 2005-06, 917 in 2006-07 and 1057 units in 2007-08. By the end of last fiscal we had an effective membership of 228277”.
The contributions are also going up – Rs. 46.94 crores in 2005-06, Rs. 62.57 crores in 2006-07 and Rs. 74.12 crores in 2007-08. “This is despite the fact that we have to recover Rs. 55.86 crores from various state run PSUs that are not doing well for a long time”, the officer said. An employer, under state’s PF law has to contribute not more than 8.33 percent of an employee’s salary to the fund even as employees can save up to 10 percent. For a place like J&K where most of the industry is disorganized, the PF scheme is a rare safety for private sector workers.
Unlike PSUs, the organization is going strongly against defaulters in private sector. It recovered Rs. 1.93 crores from 553 defaulters in 2005-06, Rs. 1.56 crores from 401 units in 2006-07 and Rs. 44.04 crores from 272 units last fiscal. During the period it settled a total of 20054 claims by members leading to an outgo of Rs. 871666389.64. By an average it lends not less than nine crore rupees to its members every year.
However, the organization has not made public the names of its members whose “forfeited accounts” worth Rs.10.08 crores have a current market value of Rs.12.69 crores. Besides it has less than a million rupees as unclaimed amount of some of its members. “I have been suggesting for years that these names should be made public so that the families whose savings these are come forward and claim,” a member of its board said. All these funds stand parked with various financial institutions – mostly with the J&K Bank – where it is earning a modest eight percent a year.

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A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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