NAGPUR: After an ambitious project to link all subscribers of employees provident fund organization (EPFO) with a unique identity number was shelved over five years ago, the agency is again working to come up with a web-based system for transfer of PF funds. The funds have to be shifted to a new account on changing a job.
The unique number plan envisaged automatic transfers, doing away with the system of a separate account for each employer. Instead, accounts were to be directly numbered in the name of employees. With the earlier plan shelved, the new one is expected to fulfil the earlier objective to some extent.
Mooted in March this year, the latest programme is aimed at enabling transfer of funds from one PF account to another in less than a week using a web-based system. A series of meetings have been held on the issue, but sources say it may take some time, requiring an overhaul of the online systems at the PF office.
Presently, if a person shifts a job, an application has to be made to transfer the money to the new PF account. It takes around 15-30 days, with the process involving physical submission of forms.
The form travels from one office to another. The delay is worse if the new job is in a different city. The application for transfer of funds has to be submitted through the present employer, to ensure correctness of the signature.
For example, if a person earlier employed in Pune gets a job in Nagpur, then the transfer is done by the Pune office. There is often a delay in collecting data on account of returns not being filed regularly by the employers. Once the transfer is approved in Pune, a soft as well as hard copy of the document is sent to the Nagpur office. The cash is reconciled and finally the fund reaches the new account only after the accounts department approves the transfer.
The new system aims to finish the job in 2-3 days. An online application will have to be made through the EPFO website. A printout of the form will go to the new employer, who will also get a digital copy. The employer will forward a digitally-signed copy to the EPFO central site. The form will go to the office, from where funds have to come. In case the details of an employee are not made available by the employer, the transfer would not be held up, with a provision to obtain the data at a later stage. The requirement of account reconciliation before transfer has also been done away with in the new system.
End to delays
Present system involves physical submission of forms for transfer of funds
The form has to go through the present employer
Lack of employees’ data often delays process
New system envisages online application
Transfer will not be held up for want of employees data
This will cut the time lag to less than a week