Richardson and Cruddas Limited, Khatau Makani Spinning and Weaving Mill, and Mafatlal Industries were among the 10 top defaulting establishments in Maharashtra who had failed to pay up their contribution to the Employees Provident Fund Scheme, according to Laik Ram Dabas, additional central provident fund commissioner.
While Richardson had defaulted to the tune of Rs 9.34 crore (Rs 93.4 million), Khatau and Mafatlal had defaulted to the tune of Rs 2.33 crore (Rs 23.3 million) and Rs 3.16 crore (Rs 31.6 million), respectively, Dabas said.
The other major defaulters among the 970 identified all over the country included Ralliwolf Ltd, Mulund -- Rs 5.94 crore (Rs 59.4 million), Marathwada Agricultural University, Parbhani -- Rs 4.18 crore (Rs 41.8 million), Kolhapur Zilla Sah Soot -- Rs 3.32 crore (Rs 33.2 million), Vasant Sahkar Karkhana, Yeotmal -- Rs 3.26 crore (Rs 32.6 million), India United Mills, Mumbai -- Rs 3 crore (Rs 30 million), Satpuda Tapi -- Rs 2.659 crore (Rs 26.59 million) and Bradbury Mills Limited, Mumbai -- Rs 2.605 crore (Rs 26.05 million).
A total of Rs 1,500 crore (Rs 15 billion) had been held up due to the failure by the establishment to pay up their contribution. In Maharashtra itself, there were more than 100 defaulting units.
EPFO plans stringent measures
The Employees Provident Fund Organisation had decided to deviate from its original stand of relying on voluntary contributions by the employers and to apply pressure on such defaulting establishments by seeking to register an FIR against such units, he informed.
Explaining the various stringent actions planned by the EPFO to realise the dues, he said that it had decided to launch an aggressive campaign and to beef up its monitoring system to identify defaulters.
In a move aimed at amending the Provident Fund Act, the EPFO was also planning to bring down the mandatory clause of the minimum number of 20 employees for starting the EPF scheme to five members.
"We are also considering a scheme whereby employees could themselves approach the PF office to register for the scheme without the mandatory requirement of the employer initiating the scheme," Dabas said.
Plans to bring unorganised sector under PF purview
Plans are also afoot to incorporate unorganised sector under the purview of the provident fund scheme.
The EPFO had also chalked out a detailed scheme to boost its current number of subscribers from the current 3 crore (30 million) to 10 crore (100 million) by employing 'sevaks' to spell out the benefits of the scheme to people and to educate them about the need to subscribe to the EPF scheme, he said.
The organisation was also considering recruiting the service of the sevaks, whose role would be akin to a Life Insurance Corporation of India agent, to collect intelligence reports on defaulting units and organisations, which had not implemented the scheme.
Its future plans also include widening its recently launched project for providing housing for EPF subscribers.
"The EPFO has acquired prime land in New Delhi and plans to use it for setting up residential complexes or to provide plots to PF subscribers."
As per the project, the EPFO would help subscribers to purchase plots and residential by using the Provident Fund money and seeking the additional fund by negotiating with housing finance agencies.
"We are tying up with various agencies to arrange for housing loans at a minimum interest. In Mumbai we hope to initiate the scheme from April," he said.
"The EPFO was currently talking with chief ministers of various states and banking organisations to purchase prime plots for the housing project. We have also approached owners of sick units to buy off their land and use it for the housing project scheme," Dabas said.
The EPFO, which currently holds a total corpus of over Rs 1,20,000 crore (Rs 1,200 billion), plans to initiate schemes related to medical benefits, health, literacy and unemployment bonus in the coming few years.
The organisation was also contemplating starting an identification process to facilitate settlement claims after retirement.
"We will be allotting a social security number to every subscriber. The first number would be allotted to the President of India, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam at a function later this month," he added.
Quick settlement of claims
Earlier, addressing the employees at the organisation's suburban office, Dabas called for a radical change in the work culture and for early settlement of claims.
Calling for settlement of claims within three days, he urged the employees to expedite files quickly and ensure speedy clearances off all claims.
"If we do not adopt ourselves to the changing time, we might be forced to lose out to the private sector," he said.
He also announced the organisation's decision to post employees at their choice of posting, to end rotational transfers and to quickly accede to transfer requests, especially in case of married women working away from their families.