The Government of India will pay the entire provident fund contribution for select employees for the next three months. In a press conference of Thursday afternoon, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that Government of India will pay 24 per cent of EPFO money (12 per cent employee contribution + 12 per cent employer contribution) for the next three months for those establishments that have up to 100 employees and 90% of those who draw less than Rs 15,000 per month.
“Govt of India will pay the Employees’ Provident Fund(EPF) contribution, both of employer and employee, put together it will be 24%, this will be for next 3 months.This is for those establishments which have upto 100 employees and 90% of them earn less that 15,000,” the finance minister said.
She said that government is also ready to amend the provident fund regulations, allowing the workers to draw upto 75% non-refundable advance from credit in PF account or 3 months salary, whichever is lower.
“Govt ready to amend the regulation of EPF due to this pandemic so that workers can draw upto 75% non-refundable advance from credit in PF account or 3 months salary, whichever is lower,” she said.
“This is a laudable move in these challenging times and in keeping with the objective of protecting the weaker section of the society. This will also help SME’s and MSME’s and workers in such industries alike with cash flow by not only giving respite to employers and workers by making contribution on their behalf but also permitting workers to withdraw from the provident fund without the obligation to refund and at the same time protecting their social security corpus. We await any further reliefs similar to the present one for larger corporates where also operations have come to a standstill,” Pooja Ramchandani, Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co said.
The Finance Minister also announced distribution of 5 kg of wheat or rice and one kg of preferred pulses free-of-cost every month over the next three months to 80 crore poor across the country to deal with the economic impact of the lockdown amid coronavirus outbreak. As many of 20.5 crore women Jan Dhan Account holders will get Rs 500 per month for next three months to run their households.
For poor senior citizens, widow and disabled will get an ex-gratia of Rs 1,000. Also, the daily wage under MNREGA has been increased to Rs 202 a day from Rs 182 to benefit 5 crore workers.
The minister said the government will front-load Rs 2,000 payment to farmers in the first week of April under the existing PM Kishan Yojana to benefit 8.69 crore farmers.