The government has approved an 8.1 percent rate of interest on employees’ provident fund (EPF) deposits for 2021-22 — an over four-decade low — for about five crore subscribers of retirement fund body EPFO. Earlier in March this year, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) had decided to lower the interest on provident fund deposits for 2021-22 to 8.1 percent from 8.5 percent provided in 2020-21.
According to an EPFO office order issued on Friday and reviewed by PTI, the Ministry of Labour and Employment has conveyed the approval of the central government to credit an 8.1 percent rate of interest for 2021-22 to each member of the EPF scheme.
The labour ministry had sent the proposal to the Ministry of Finance for its concurrence.
Now, after the ratification of the interest rate by the government, the EPFO would start crediting the fixed rate of interest for the fiscal into the EPF accounts.
The 8.1 percent EPF rate of interest is the lowest since 1977-78 when it stood at 8 percent. The 8.5 percent interest rate on EPF deposits for 2020-21 was decided by the Central Board of Trustees (CBT) in March 2021. It was ratified by the finance ministry in October 2021. Thereafter, the EPFO issued directions to field offices to credit the interest income at 8.5 percent for 2020-21 into the subscribers’ account.
An EPFO trustee, K E Raghunathan, who represents employers, said the speed with which the ministries of labour and finance have cleared the interest rate is really appreciable, considering the dire need for funds in the hands of employees and it will help them meet expenses such as educational needs of their children.
In March 2020, the EPFO had lowered the interest rate on provident fund deposits to a seven-year low of 8.5 percent for 2019-20, from 8.65 percent in 2018-19.
The EPF interest rate provided for 2019-20 was the lowest since 2012-13 when it was brought down to 8.5 percent. EPFO had provided an 8.65 percent interest rate to its subscribers in 2016-17 and 8.55 percent in 2017-18.
The rate of interest was slightly higher at 8.8 percent in 2015-16. It had given an 8.75 percent rate of interest in 2013-14 as well as 2014-15, higher than the 8.5 percent for 2012-13. The rate of interest was 8.25 percent in 2011-12.