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The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has said “major corrections" in member profiles will not be permitted online as it could lead to mismatch of records and may result in fraudulent withdrawals.

In a circular, the retirement fund body asked its field offices, as well as establishments, not to entertain any correction in the name or other employee details without documentary proof. The circular was issued ahead of the 2020-21 interest rate announcement.

In FY20, when such instances came to light, the EPFO decided to hold back interest payment to 10% of its subscribers.

The EPFO has also asked field offices to preserve documentary proofs submitted by employees and employers for audits.

“A complete change in the member profile cannot be allowed in the normal course through online or offline process, except in extreme situations where it has been proven that the member’s name has been changed following the due process prescribed in law, or there has been an erroneous upload of data by the employer on production of documentary evidence, by the member and employer, and after due verification," it said.

“Correction in profile has been allowed to rectify the errors in the name, father’s or husband’s name, date of birth and gender. However, it has been observed that complete name and profile changes have been made in certain cases, leading to fraudulent withdrawals," it said.

The fund manager said it has classified minor and major changes for ease of due diligence. A change will be considered a minor correction if it is related to expanding the name, surname from abbreviation to full name or vice versa, without changing the first letter. Similarly, insertion of a middle name or surname after marriage or after family name as mentioned in Aadhaar is possible, but complete change of a name is not allowed, it said.

Major changes include a complete change in name, which “shall not be done in the online process without obtaining proper documentary proof, including explanation from the employer", it said.

In case an institution has closed down, documentary proofs including old salary slip and PF slip will be crucial. The EPFO has also told the field offices that “documentary proof produced… shall be preserved and made available for audit" on a regular basis.

Mint reported on Sunday that interest payments to around 4 million EPFO members were not credited though one-and-a-half months have elapsed since the government announced its decision to make the payments for 2019-20. This was prompted by a know your customer (KYC) mismatch of employees at the employers’ end.

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