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NEW DELHI : India’s retirement fund manager on Friday raised the death insurance benefits for subscribers of its employees’ deposit-linked insurance (EDLI) scheme, at a time the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc across the country.

In a gazette notification, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) said the minimum death insurance has been increased to 2.5 lakh and the maximum to 7 lakh, from the earlier limits of 2 lakh and 6 lakh, respectively.

If an EDLI subscriber dies while in employment, the death benefit is given to the family of the subscriber. Among EPFO’s 50 million active subscribers, over 2 million are EDLI subscribers.

“The following proviso shall be inserted and shall be deemed to have been inserted with effect from the 15th day of February 2020... provided that the assurance benefit shall not be less than two lakh and fifty thousand rupees," the notification said.

It means the lower limit of this insurance benefit will be effective retrospectively from 15 February 2020.

“In the second proviso, for the words six lakh rupees, the words seven lakh rupees shall be substituted," the notification said.

“While the lower limit is coming with retrospective effect, the upper limit has a prospective effect," said labour secretary Apurva Chandra.

According to the gazette notification, the Union labour ministry had increased the minimum death insurance to 2.5 lakh from 2 lakh in 2018 but only for two years, and it had expired on 14 February 2020.

The fresh amendment and notification will allow the continuation of the previous decision, which has now also got the approval of the EPFO board.

The upper limit, however, is going to benefit many as it is being done for the first time.

“Vide notification of the Government of India in the ministry of labour and employment… dated the 15th February, 2018 published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary... the minimum assurance benefit ceiling was increased to two lakh and fifty thousand rupees for a period of two years, which expired on the 14th February, 2020," the notification said.

“Therefore, for the purpose of giving continuity to the said benefit, sub-clause (iv) of clause (b) of paragraph 2 of this amendment Scheme is given effect to retrospectively from the 15th day of February, 2020, which will not adversely affect the interests of any person," it added.

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