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Wednesday, Jul 21, 2004

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No decision on EPF rate; next meeting on Aug 9

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The Labour Minister, Mr Sis Ram Ola, with trustees of the Employees Provident Fund at the 169th meeting of the Central Board of Trustees in the Capital on Tuesday. — Ramesh Sharma

New Delhi , July 20

THE Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) on Tuesday deferred, for the third time in succession, a decision on the interest payable to provident fund subscribers for 2004-05.

The CBT is now slated to meet on August 9 to take a decision on the issue.

Speaking to newspersons after the meeting, the Union Labour Minister and Chairman of CBT, Mr Sis Ram Ola, said: "I have called for another meeting of the CBT on August 9 where we will take a unanimous decision."

He said that the trade unions had authorised him to take a final decision.

"I have got the opinions of all the parties. After individual discussions with various social partners, I have arrived at a `unanimous decision', which I will announce only on August 9," Mr Ola said.

"Some people may have difficulties in saying certain things in public, but they have cleared their view during the one-to-one meetings."

Today's meeting started in the morning and continued till lunch break. It resumed after lunch when the Minister chose to meet the trade unions in three separate groups - the INTUC, the BMS and others - and unions affiliated to the Left parties.

According to indications available from CBT members after the meeting, the Left trade union leaders have softened their stands in their closed-door interaction with the Minister and have scaled down their demand from the 12 per cent rate of interest sought earlier.

"Finally, going by available figures, this year's proposed rate may finally be set at nine per cent, which may call for rearranging some of the accounts," said a CBT member.

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No decision on EPF rate; next meeting on Aug 9

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