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EPF interest rate to stay at 9.5%

New Delhi, Sept. 23: The government will continue to pay interest at the rate of 9.5 per cent on the employees’ provident fund (EPF) despite pressure from finance minister Jaswant Singh to prune it to 9 per cent in line with the falling interest rate table.

“The EPF interest is 9.5 per cent and it will continue,” labour minister Sahib Singh Verma told reporters on the sidelines of an interactive session on the report of the second National Commission on Labour.

The finance ministry has been pressing for a lower rate on EPF deposits to bring it in line with the softer interest rate regime. The pension panel had earlier rejected the proposal to reduce the rates, saying it will continue to offer a higher rate of 9.5 per cent since it had adequate reserves and earnings.

Verma said the government was holding meetings with various political parties, industry bodies, corporates and trade unions to revitalise the labour policy. “On the basis of our consultations with various political parties and stakeholders, we will be able to carve the new labour policy in the next three to four months,” he added.

Verma emphasised that if a strong partnership prevails between the management and the labour force, the need for unions will cease to exist. “Such a partnership will not only help introduce efficiency in the entire organisation, but will also help Indian industry become globally competitive”.

The labour minister also said that an organisation can be successful if the employer-employee relationship is well-cemented. “A system should be evolved where labour is actively involved in the major decision making processes of the management. A change in the mindset is the need of the hour for making partnerships work,” he said.

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