Employees' Provident Fund Organisation settled 56.79 lakh COVID-19 non-refundable advance claims and disbursed Rs 14,310 crore till December 31. This is indicative of the adverse impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the employees in the formal sector.
"The EPFO has settled 56.79 lakh COVID-19 withdrawal claims and disbursed Rs 14,310 crore to subscribers during the pandemic till December 31, 2020," a source said, as mentioned in agency reports. The EPFO settled 197.91 lakh claims related to final settlement, death, insurance, advance claims and disbursed Rs 73,288 crore till December 31.
When the lockdown was imposed in March, the government had allowed over 6 crore EPFO subscribers to withdraw an amount not exceeding three months or 75 per cent of basic pay and dearness allowance, whichever is less, from their EPF account.
The quantum of disbursement is indicative of the stress on formal sector workers that led to job loss, pay cuts and forced migration. Additionally, the Centre introduced the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) on March 26 to provide financial aid to the weaker sections.
Further, private EPF trusts also settled 4.19 lakh COVID-19 claims and disbursed Rs 3,983 crore to the members to provide liquidity. Private EPF trusts manage the fund as well as EPF accounts of their members themselves. These firms are exempted from filing EPF returns to the EPFO. These are regulated by the EPFO.