50 million workers should thank Mr. AD Nagpal

For 77- year old AD Nagpal, who was instrumental in increasing the payout for 50 million workers by about Rs 1,700 crore this year, it's still not time to rest.

In the midst of receiving congratulatory calls, Nagpal told The Indian Express that there were many pending issues that require his attention as a trustee of the Employee Provident Fund. It was Nagpal, an EPFO trustee since 1997, who detected the discrepancy in the EPFO accounts and insisted that the organisation re-examine its books since its inception 58 years back in 1952.

He has been closely associated with the Socialist movement and Jai Prakash Narayan. As secretary of the Hind Mazdoor Sabha, Nagpal juggles his time between Chandigarh where he resides and Delhi where he has his office. Despite this long association, it took him a good three years and elaborate calculations to convince the labour ministry and the EPFO of the error. "I alerted the ministry first in January 2007, but no one believed me. Moreover, since the EPFO accounts are tabled in Parliament, no one was keen to reopen them," Nagpal told The Indian Express a day after the CBT accepted his calculation.

The discrepancy was because the EPFO had debited Rs 2,481 crore in the interest suspense account way back in 1998, but did not credit it into individual accounts. Assisted by experts, he carefully reconstructed the EPFO's accounts beginning 1993-94. Simultaneously, the Hind Mazdoor Sabha wrote to the then labour minister Oscar Fernandes.

"We didn't get a reply, but we kept pursuing the issue with the ministry," he recounts. Finally, this year, the EPFO decided to reopen its accounts and after summoning records from across the country they accepted the calculations. The net result was the discovery of surplus funds of Rs 1,731.57 crore in the suspense account as against the stated Rs 158 crore.

"It has taken the EPFO a long time but this is worth the effort. I was a bit worried till yesterday but now I am relaxed," said a visibly pleased Nagpal. "Initially, I was told that the interest rate would be hiked by 0.5 per cent, but later the minister decided that since there was enough surplus, the EPFO can go in for a 1 per cent hike," he said.

We kept pursuing, says the man who got you 9.5% interest rate.


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