The Employees' Provident Fund Organization (EPFO), under the Central Government, has settled a total of 12.91 lakhs claims during the lockdown, including 7.40 lakh COVID-19 claims under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) package. This also involves disbursal of Rs 4684.52 crores which includes Rs 2367.65 crores COVID claims under the PMGKY package.
It is heartening to note that the exempted PF trusts have also risen to the occasion amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a government release, "As on April 27, Rs 875.52 crores have been disbursed to 79,743 PF Members as an advance for COVID-19 by the exempted PF Trusts under this Scheme, with 222 private sector establishments disbursing Rs 338.23 crores to 54,641 beneficiaries, 76 public sector establishments disbursing Rs 524.75 crores to 24,178 beneficiaries and 23 cooperative sector establishments disbursing Rs12.54 crores to 924 claimants."
The top three private companies that have been exempted in terms of "number of claims settled" and "amount disbursed" are: Tata Consultancy Services Mumbai, HCL Technologies Limited Gurugram and HDFC Bank Mumbai. In the public sector, ONGC Dehradun, Neyveli Lignite Corporation Neyveli, and BHEL Trichy are the top 3 establishments exempted from settling the maximum number of COVID-19 advance claims. Besides, Neyveli Lignite Corporation, ONGC Dehradun, and Vishakhapatnam Steel Plant are the top three establishments in terms of the amount disbursed to EPF members.
The Government had announced the provision for a special withdrawal from the EPF Scheme to fight COVID-19 pandemic. The provision was made a part of the PMGKY government scheme by introducing a paragraph 68 L(3) of the EPF Scheme on March 28. Under this provision, a member is granted non-refundable withdrawal to aid the basic wages and dearness allowances for three months or up to 75 percent of the amount standing to member's credit in the EPF account, whichever is less.