EPFO interest rate could be higher than 8.25 pc: Kharge

New Delhi: Retirement fund body EPFO`s interest rate for its over 50 million subscribers for this fiscal could be higher than 8.25 per cent provided during 2011-12, Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge today said.

"Suppose if our income goes up, it may be beyond 8.25 per also," Kharge told reporters when asked whether EPFO has decided to pay 8.6 per cent rate this fiscal. The minister said: "We will distribute interest (among subscribers) based on our income…this is what I said in Rajya Sabha. We will see what our total revenue is and based on that what can we give".

A section of the media had reported last week that the EPFO has decided to pay 8.6 per cent rate of return this fiscal to its account holders, based on the minister`s reply to a debate on labour issues in the Rajya Sabha.

The minister explained that he had spoken about the 8.6 per cent rate of return in the context of the government`s decision to increase rate of return on the Special Deposit Scheme (SDS).

EPFO has parked about Rs 55,000 crore in the SDS. Its total corpus is around Rs 3 lakh crore. There was a hue and cry when EPFO last month slashed the interest rate on PF deposits to 8.25 per cent for 2011-12 from 9.5 per cent in 2010-11.

As per practice, the rate of return on PF deposits is announced by the EPFO`s apex decision making body, the Central Board of Trustees (CBT), headed by the Labour Minister. The CBT`s decision on the interest rate is based on EPFO`s income projections for a financial year. The decision is finally implemented after the Finance Ministry`s concurrence.