SRINAGAR: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCC&I) recently held a meeting on April 28th 2023, with Mr. Rizwan ud din, Commissioner of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) in Jammu and Kashmir, to address concerns expressed by KCC&I member entities regarding recovery and penalty notices issued by EPFO under various provisions, particularly under Section 14B of the EPFO MFACT.
During the meeting, several stakeholders were present along with the KCC&I Office Bearers. The Commissioner of EPFO was accompanied by the Enforcement Officer of EPFO, Kashmir, Ankur. The stakeholders expressed their grievances with the issuance of penalty and recovery notices under Section 14B.
It was explained during the meeting that default or delay in payment and filing of relevant returns was caused by peculiar situations arising from the total restrictions imposed on public life in the State following the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019. This included internet shutdowns and other means of communication for nearly four months. The woes that the business of public life had suffered through the unpredictable restrictions were further compounded with the life-threatening Covid-19 pandemic.
Based on these facts, the KCC&I pleaded with the Commissioner to quash the demand raised through the notice issued under various provisions, especially Section 14B of EPF&MFACT, and condone the delay in filing the returns. The Commissioner was impressed upon to appreciate the ground situations prevailing during those difficult phases of disturbing events and takes a view accordingly.
The Commissioner listened keenly and enlightened the stakeholders about the applicability and implications of the relevant rules for persisting non-compliance of the Act. He advised that a proper representation be made to the Ministry concerned asking for waiver of the penalties.
The KCC&I is currently working out the details to be brought on the representation to be addressed to the concerned Ministry for favourable consideration, as advised by the Commissioner of EPFO. Faiz Ahmad Bakshi, Secretary-General of KCC&I, stated that the KCC&I will continue to work towards finding solutions to the issues faced by its members and the business community in Kashmir.