Provident fund starts web help desk for inoperative accounts

New Delhi: The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has introduced an online help desk to assist members in tracing out "inoperative accounts", the labour ministry said Thursday.

The EPFO will "assist the holders of inoperative accounts to trace out their accounts and effect settlement or transfer of the same to their present account", a statement here said.

Provident fund accounts that fail to make contributions for 36 continuous months are classified as inoperative and interest is not credited to these accounts from the date they turn inoperative.

A sum of Rs.27,000 crore was lying in inoperative accounts of the EPFO as on March 2014.

This online help desk can be accessed through the EPFO's website.

Subscribers are required to fill in information like company name and year of employment in order that the help desk can assist in finding other details.

After members provide details of inoperative accounts, a reference ID is created.

Once the details are traced, the help desk will guide subscribers in transferring the amount lying in the inoperative account to their existing accounts, an EPFO official told IANS.

"Based on the reference ID generated, the field office concerned (where the member held his PF account) shall contact the member and guide subscribers in getting the settlement or effecting the PF transfer as the case may be," the ministry said.

"The introduction of Universal Account Number (UAN) is expected to greatly facilitate the above initiative as UAN would enable consolidation of multiple previous PF account numbers with the present one," it added.

Nearly 50 million EPFO members are able to access their permanent or universal account numbers (UANs) on real-time basis through a dedicated members' web portal since October last.

The UAN is portable throughout the working career of members and can be used anywhere in India.

According to EPFO, it has already captured bank account details of over 20 million employees, PAN details of nearly 10 million people and Aadhar numbership in respect of 3.54 million workers.

The decision to set up the help desk follows instructions by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of the Shrameva Jayate programme in October last year, the statement said.

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