The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) on Wednesday said it settled 10.02 lakh claims, including 6.06 lakh coronavirus cases, in just over two weeks. The claims were settled under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) in 15 working days, the EPFO said in a statement. The settlement includes disbursal of Rs 3,601 crore which included Rs 1,954 crore coronavirus claims, it added. "Despite only one-third staff being able to work due to lockdown, 90% of COVID-19 claims have been settled in three working days, setting new standards of service delivery," the EPFO said.
The government launched the PMGKY to help economically-weaker sections cope with the coronavirus pandemic. A provision for withdrawal from the EPF scheme to fight the pandemic was announced by the government in March. The provision provides for non-refundable withdrawal to the extent of basic wages and dearness allowance for three months or up to 75 per cent of the amount standing to member's credit in the EPF account, whichever is less.
The top three exempted establishments in terms of the amount disbursed for coronavirus claims are Neyveli Lignite Corporation (Rs 84.4 crore), Tata Consultancy Services (Rs 43.3 crore) and Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (Rs 40.9 crore).
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in a press conference on March 26 said that EPFO subscribers could withdraw 75 per cent of balance or three month wages as non-refundable advance, whichever is lower. The scheme would benefit 80 lakh employees of nearly 4 lakh establishments, she said. EPFO recently said that Rs 481.63 crore have been disbursed to 40,826 provident fund members for their needs arising out of the coronavirus pandemic.