The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Saturday slammed the Central government for reduction in interest rates of employees provident fund (EPF) from 8.5 percent to 8.1 percent, saying the party will protest both inside and outside Parliament on the issue.
Speaking to the media in Kolkata, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “This is a serious cause of concern. Those from the middle and lower-middle classes are dependent on EPF. Cutting down the interest rate, which I believe is the lowest in many decades, is unacceptable. The BJP recently won elections in four of the five states. A day after, this is a gift from the Central government to the people.” CPM leader Samik Lahiri said the move shows that BJP is baring its fangs after winning the assembly polls in four states. “Be it banks or EPF, interest rates are being slashed. The Centre is playing into the hands of the capitalists. This will allow an open corporate loot,” he added.
State BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya tried to play down the issue.
“The world economy is changing and so is India’s. It is true that a section of people will feel uncomfortable. But the government is with the people, many of whom belong to poorer sections. A balance is being maintained,” said Bhattacharya in a press conference in Kolkata.
The Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of the EPFO in its meeting in Guwahati had recommended 8.1 percent interest for the financial year 2021 -22.
The CBT, headed by the Union Labour Minister and having representatives from employers and employees, makes the interest rate recommendation. The recommendations are then ratified by the Finance Ministry.