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PF stick for defaulter

New Delhi, June 27: The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation today cracked the whip on Industrial Finance Corporation of India, the fund’s biggest defaulter, reports our special correspondent.

The fund’s central board of trustees asked the corporation to cough up Rs 5,000 crore in arrears. “We have asked IFCI to start paying up immediately,” labour minister Sahib Singh Verma said today at a press conference, after a board meeting. The board met the corporation representatives on May 22 to strike a deal on the repayment of the Rs 420-crore borrowed from the fund.

At the meeting today, the board laid down the conditions for repayment. “IFCI should pay us at the earlier coupon rate, ranging between 12 and 14 per cent, for the period between March 2002 and March 2003,” Verma said. From March 2003 onwards, the corporation can repay at 10 per cent over the next 10 years.

“These conditions, approved by the trustees, will be communicated to the IFCI. It is in their interest to agree to them,” said Hansubhai Dave, a trustee and general secretary of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh.

The fund rejected the corporation’s offer to repay at 9 per cent rate of interest. “We insist on a 10 per cent repayment rate,” Verma said. Both the finance and the labour ministries, he said, had stepped up pressure on the corporation.

Next on the list of defaulters is the Bangalore-based Hindusthan Machine Tool with a Rs 240-crore arrear.

According to Verma, the fund was making good progress in recovering arrears from defaulters. As much as Rs 1,200 crore was yet to be recovered. Of this amount, 70 per cent was locked in litigation.

“To speed up the recovery process, the board of trustees today sanctioned the setting up of a directorate of recovery and a directorate of audit. This will strengthen the process of recovery. The directorate of recovery will maintain dossiers on major defaulters,” the minister said.

The fund has recovered Rs 750-800 crore since 1998. “The organisation has filed 7,000 criminal cases against defaulters. There has been a recovery of 800 per cent since last year,” Verma said.

The board today also decided to give social security numbers to 25 lakh construction workers and set up a sub-committee to work out the modalities of the process. “The workers will then be able to move and operate their accounts wherever they move,” Verma said.

XLRI project

The director of the Xavier Labour Relations Institute, Father P.D. Thomas, has confirmed that the institute has submitted a project proposal for PF restructuring to the Centre.

“A team comprising top PF department officials from the central and state governments visited the college campus in November last year and had an elaborate discussion on the project,” he said.

A four-member team headed by E.M. Rao, dean of academics, had prepared the project, Thomas added.

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