In a sweetener for subscribers of the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), the Centre is considering a proposal to further hike the interest rate on retirement savings under the scheme to 8.9-9 per cent for 2015-16.

“An interim rate of 8.8 per cent for provident fund deposits was announced in February. But a surplus of about ₹1,100 crore is available; we will announce a final return at a higher rate,” said a senior Labour Ministry official.

The Ministry is waiting for the audited accounts of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), which will give a final picture of the additional funds available.

“The higher rate will be announced and notified in a month,” said the official.

This would be the highest rate since 2010-11, when the EPFO offered 9.5 per cent on deposits for its over six crore members.

The move comes days after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley withdrew the Budget proposal to tax 60 per cent of the EPF corpus of subscribers at the time of withdrawal, if it was not annuitised. The EPFO’s apex decision-making body –– the Central Board of Trustees –– had in February announced an interim interest rate of 8.8 per cent for 2015-16, marginally higher than the earlier rate of 8.75 per cent.

At that time, the EPFO’s advisory body –– Finance, Audit and Investment Committee (FAIC) –– had recommended 8.95 per cent interest on PF deposits for 2015-16, which was supported by trade union leaders.

The CBT is to meet on March 29 in Delhi.

CBT members AK Padmanabhan of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions and DL Sachdeva of the All India Trade Union Congress said there was “no official intimation” as yet on the higher rate, and it was not on the agenda.

Sachdeva said unions wanted an interest rate of 8.95 per cent for 2015-16, but the Finance Ministry had cited market volatility and the global economic slowdown to push down the rate.

(With inputs from Aditi Nigam)