Taking the first step towards launch of online PF transfer claim facilities, retirement fund body EPFO has unveiled the revised transfer claim form for the purpose.
The launch of full fledged service of online transfer of provident fund transfer claims would take more than a month, EPFO's Central Provident Fund Commissioner K K Jalan said.
The revised transfer claim form, which could be used online as well as manually, was unveiled by the Labour and Employment Minister Sis Ram Ola. According to Jalan, the full fledged service of online transfer of PF accounts on changing jobs would be possible only after employers' have digital signatures for the purpose. This is estimated to cost around Rs 700 for an employer.
At present, Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) is supposed to settle a transfer of PF claim in 30 days period as per its citizen charter.
Through online settlement of claims, the body envisages to do it in three days. On this occasion, the Minister said the expectation of EPFO beneficiaries for a timely settlement of claims is a justified one.
During 2012-13, 107.62 lakh claims were settled, out of which 88 per cent of claims were processed within the prescribed 30 days as per the body's citizen charter. EPFO is expecting 1.2 crore claims in the current fiscal.
The Labour Minister directed that all efforts should be made to not only settle the claims within the time, but also to reduce the time taken in settlement of claims. The revised form will be called 'Transfer Claim Form' instead of Form 13 for easy comprehension by beneficiaries.
The form can be presented after verification, either through the present employer or the previous employer. Earlier, the form could be submitted after verification only through the present employer.
"It can be submitted online as well as in physical form. The facility of online submission of this form will be given shortly after process of collecting the digital signature of the employer is completed," an EPFO statement said.
The facility to file physical form shall continue to cater to the needs of working class who do not have Internet access. Employees will be allowed to submit their applications online, if their employer is having registered digital signature, it said.
Under the new system of claim settlement, every beneficiary will be informed through SMS and e-mail about the stage of process of the claim to make the entire process transparent and accountable.
Initially, the facility of online transfer of PF account would be available for the employees of establishments whose account is managed by EPFO and not for the firms having private PF trusts who are managing their workers' funds and accounts, Jalan said.
EPFO is in the process of setting up a central clearance house, which will enable subscribers to apply online for withdrawal claim settlements and transfer of funds. The biggest problem faced by subscribers is with regard to transferring their accounts on change of job. This central clearance facility will expedite the process, a union leader said.
However, the EPFO's ambitious plans to provide permanent account numbers to all subscribers to avoid filing for PF transfer claims in the event of changing jobs will be possible only next year.