PF interest rate slashed to 8.55%

EPFO cuts interest rate to 8.55% for 2017-18 from 8.65% for 2016-17

Sources have said that EPFO is likely to retain 8.65 percent interest rate on provident fund deposits for its about 5 crore members for 2017-18.

Gangwar, who also heads the EPFO's apex decision-making body, the Central Board of Trustees, said he expected the finance ministry to approve the interest rate that was decided on Wednesday.

"Post the colossal loss of nearly Rs 30,000 crore loot and scams being unravelled in the past seven days, Modi government has once again backstabbed the common people and honest tax payers of the country by reducing the interest rates in EPFO holders from 8.65 per cent to 8.55 per cent", he added.

The latest rate cut comes amid reports that the EPFO sold a portion of its investments in the exchange-traded funds (ETF) worth Rs 2,886 crore earlier this month.

"Modi Government backstabs honest tax payers by lowering interest rates of 4.5 crore EPF holders".

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The EPFO interest rates are reducing since 2015-16 when the rate on deposits was 8.8 per cent. Since August 2015, when it entered the stock market, the body has invested a little over Rs44,000 crore. He said that the EPF rate is higher than the Government Provident Fund and Public Provident Fund, which are earning 7.6% interest this quarter.

According to labour minister Santosh Gangwar, despite 8% returns it received on bond investments, the EPFO is able to pay 8.55%, thanks to the sale of some investments in ETFs. But in a market where debt investment earnings are low, authorities feel there is still a 20% chance of an interest rate cut.

The rates have been coming down since 2013-14when the government made a decision to align PF interest rates with small saving schemes such as PPF.

EPFO manages a corpus of over Rs 11 lakh crore. Right now, all organized sector establishments and firms deploying 20 or more employees come under EPFO.

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