Oppn uproar over EPF interest cut

New Delhi: Opposition members today created uproar in the Lok Sabha against the slashing of EPF interest by 1.25 per cent when Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee rose to present the Union Budget for 2012-13. Left and BJP members along with some other opposition MPs were on their feet as soon as Mukherjee started reading his budget speech.

Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) and Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) demanded rollback of the decision, while Deputy Leader of BJP in the House Gopinath Munde and senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi strongly opposed the decision announced just a day before the Union budget.

Speaker Meira Kumar did not allow them to raise the issue and asked Mukherjee to continue with his speech. The interest rate on deposits in Employees Provident Fund were yesterday slashed from 9.5 per cent to 8.25 per cent for 2011-12 affecting over 4.7 crore subscribers. The Employees` Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) had provided 9.5 per cent interest rate to its subscribers for 2010-11 after it found Rs 1,731 crore surplus in its books of account.

The decision has already come under sharp attack from various trade unions. Dasgupta, who is a member of the EPFO Central Board of Trustees and General Secretary of the CPI-backed All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), said the decision was not acceptable as it would affect the working class.