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Provident Fund Claims Rise to 1 cr

Withdrawals stemming from job losses are a small part of the whole

It was case of the tail wagging the dog. Rumours have been raging among employees all around the country that job losses have been of such great volume that it has created an emergency in sourcing funds for daily essentials and thereby driven innumerable number of unemployed to dip into their savings that had been earmarked for the far off future.

That people seek to withdraw funds from their provident fund only in dire emergencies, and thereby affect adversely their lifestyle when they retire, this rush to get hold of funds fuelled a speculative sensation. But people can rest a little easy now.

Slowdown in the economy, reaching the age of retirement, transfers and yes, to an extent job losses have taken provident fund withdrawal to record heights in 2008-09. What was earlier surmised as an effect of major job losses leading to laid-off employees dipping into the savings to get funds for day to day expenditure, which created a scare as to how big the job-loss reality was, has been nipped in the bud.

According to the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), provident fund withdrawals claims have escalated to a mammoth 1.01 crore, as against a count of 76.35 lakh in the last fiscal.

Considering that the number of claims is not really that much different from last year’s, attributing the fact to the recession-led job-losses would be a bit far-fetched.