The filing of online provident fund accounts transfer claims on changing jobs for subscribers of the retirement fund body EPFO has become a reality now.
The facility has been made available as the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has launched its online transfer claim portal (OTCP) on October 2, 2013, as per an office circular said.
According to the circular to its field staff, EPFO's Central Provident Fund Commissioner K K Jalan has said, "..handling of transfer cases generates maximum bad publicity and it is expected that this issue shall be resolved after OTCP is made fully functional".
Jalan has also directed that after October 31, there shall be no physical movement of paper (either claims or Annexure “K”) in transferring member accounts from one office to another.
Annexure K contains details of service period with an employer and the amount of funds deposited in the pension fund account of the subscribers who seek transfer of PF accounts.
The facility of online transfer of provident fund accounts will reduce the work load of the body substantially as over 13 lakh applicants files such claims every year.
EPFO has set up a central clearance house for this purpose and the body envisages to reduce the time for transfer of PF accounts to three days through the online service.
The EPFO started registering digital signatures of companies from July 25, a prerequisite for the facility. At present over 30,000 employers or establishments have already registered their digital signatures with EPFO.
According to the information available, 80 per cent of the firms employing more than 500 workers have already registered their digital signatures with EPFO.
EPFO officials say that job changes are more frequent in big firms employing more than 500 workers, especially in sectors such as information technology. The body managed PF accounts of about 6.9 lakh establishments in 2011-12.
The officials say it's easier for companies in sectors such as IT to register digital signatures as they already maintain them to comply with Ministry of Corporate Affairs requirements.
During 2012-13, the EPFO settled 107.62 lakh claims, 88 per cent of which were processed within 30 days, as prescribed by the body's citizen charter.
The EPFO expects 1.2 crore claims in 2013-14, including around 13 lakh PF transfer claims, largely from tech-savvy companies from sectors like IT.