New Delhi [India], September 10 (ANI): Union Minister Santosh Gangwar on Wednesday launched virtual hearing facility in quasi-judicial cases under Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 through video conferencing by use of secure IT applications compatible with desktop, laptop, mobile phones.
As per an official release, the aim of integration of virtual hearing utilities with EPFO's e-Court process on Compliance e-Proceedings Portal (https://eproceedings.epfindia.gov.in) is to eliminate the physical presence of parties in hearings before Adjudicating Officer leading to ease and convenience for employers and employees to appear in hearings from the remote location of their choice.
"The system entails savings on time, travel and expenditure for parties, ensures compliance to social distancing norms during pandemic and fast tracks assessment of worker's EPF dues to generate better confidence in the quasi-judicial mechanism. It is a critical development towards the objective of faceless quasi-judicial proceedings in EPFO," it said.
The facility was launched during the 227th meeting of the Central Board of Trustees (CBT), EPF under the Chairmanship of Gangwar, Minister of State for Labour and Employment (Independent Charge), and Vice Chairmanship of Heeralal Samariya, Secretary (Labour and Employment), Central Provident Fund Commissioner, Sunil Barthwal, conducted the meeting as Member Secretary, CBT, EPF through Video Conference mode.
In the meeting, the Central Board accorded approval for amendment of paragraph 22(3) of Employees' Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme, 1976 to enhance the maximum assurance benefit to Rs 7 lakhs from the present maximum assurance benefit of Rs 6 lakhs.
"This amendment will provide additional succour to families and dependents of members of the Scheme in case of their unfortunate death while in service. CBT was also informed that the actuarial valuation of EDLI Fund has allowed for the continuation of minimum assurance benefit of Rs 2.5 Lakhs beyond February 14 and extension of minimum assurance benefit of Rs 2.5 Lakhs to the family of those deceased members who were employed in multiple establishments during the 12 months preceding the month in which they died, as approved by CBT EPF in its 226th meeting," the release stated.
In view of exceptional circumstances arising out of COVID-19, the agenda regarding interest rate was reviewed by the Central Board and it recommended the same rate of 8.50 per cent to the Central government.
"The board would comprise of 8.15 per cent from debt income and balance 0.35 per cent (capital gain) from the sale of ETFs subject to their redemption by December 31, 2020. It further recommended accounting such capital gains in the income of the financial year 2019-20 as being an exceptional case," the release said.
The Board members appreciated the fact that EPFO is using the latest trends and technology and availing benefits by the use of existing initiatives of other Government Departments as well as by effectively harnessing its in-house capabilities for internal services. (ANI)