Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Provident Fund and stock market

It is wrong for finance ministry to direct Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) to invest in stock market and stop withdrawals for education, house building or buying, marriage and sickness. The money belongs to employees and finance ministry or anyone else has no business to play with it.

The argument that equities give higher return is humbug. There is no guarantee of any return in equities. The timing of the directive, when Sensex is falling, raises questions. Finance ministry is not ready to make up if there is loss. Sometimes share prices increase, sometimes decrease. At one time Sensex was more than 21000 points. Then it came down to less than 8000 points. After that it has been going up and down.

When Atal Behari Vajpayee was Prime Minister UTI invested in shares of an IT company. The value of those shares crashed by 99.8% i.e., for thousand rupees the return was two rupees. PF money can not be put to such risks.

Employees should be free to withdraw their money in case of necessities. To stop them from withdrawing their money for their necessity in unjust. To borrow money from bank they will have to pay interest.

The decision of Central Board of Trustees of EPFO not to invest in is a sound one and they should stick to that. These are days of scams. Investment of PF money in stock market can lead to another scam. Better safe than sorry. One bird in hand is worth two in bush.

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