Why can’t EPFO link different PF accounts through one UAN?
Of late, there has been much publicity on how the Provident Fund department has smoothened matters out for employees and employers, much of it probably true for those willing to "do the needful". Otherwise, if you are the sort who insists on doing things the correct way, then it is still the same old same old. Whether this is a banking issue, as it involves our money, or whether this is a consumer issue, fact remains, the Provident Fund people come under the Ministry of Labour.
And that is where the issue really becomes complex. People with huge savings in Provident Fund are viewed as fair game in this context. The number of people whose Provident Fund amounts run into lakhs are now in lakhs. No longer is Provident Fund basis minimum payable - it is now often calculated on the total salary plus perquisites, and can very soon become a sizeable figure. This, to the usual babu in this Department, is like candy to a rat. Some examples.
My son, like many other young people of his age and generation, changes jobs frequently and therefore generates a whole range of new add-ons. Some companies evangelise a particular bank and branch, other companies insist on their own policies for various issues, but all of them have to open a Provident Fund account for him.
In the last eight years, my son has accomplished the amazing score of five Provident Fund accounts, with registered offices for those companies and therefore documentation at Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Chennai and now Gurgaon.
Theoretically, all five of these accounts, same person, same permanent account number (PAN), same father's and mother's name, same address, same everything, should have been linked by a single Universal Account Number (UAN). In reality, because of the huge difficulties faced in linking provident fund accounts through the UAN number, when shifting to a new job, and with time-based deadlines staring the new employers in the face on deposit, he ends up getting yet another UAN number at every new job.
Trying to put them together, subsequently, is the trap that the Employee's Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) sets for people in this sort of a situation.
For the EPFO, this takes weeks, months or more - totally up to them. The favourite tricks they use include -
a) Not sending the One Time Passcode (OTP)
b) Introducing a loop through the employer, making matters convoluted especially in the case of the ex-employer.
c) Insisting on physical presence at EPFO offices all over the country instead of closest to the employee.
Meanwhile, within less than three years, the amounts with the EPFO stop earning interest. Their method of calculating interest due is also, to put it mildly, very innovative. If you left in, for example, January, then you may see that your interest for the full financial year from April onwards is not added on!
In my case, over a mosaic career spread over a variety of professions, I have seen the following with Provident Fund. This includes demise of the Seaman's Provident Fund to a huge scam involving the best of cricketers and film stars, two episodes of top-end Indian corporates, which has subsidiaries that went bust swallowing up my provident fund and more recently, my own pension getting stuck in babu-land variously.
The big ticket here is that I refuse to bribe. There is or are no dearth of agents and consultants who are all over the place, on-site and online, who would probably cost me a percentage share of the proceeds less than a year's interest lost but the larger issue here is to first prove a point and then file the required Right to Information Applications as well as Public Grievances to try and fix the guilty.
What is the solution? I can think of only one - the money in Provident Fund should be converted into some sort of bonds or certificates, payable either on maturity relevant to the age of the person or at a discount if encashed in advance for whatever reason. Nothing else will work in the maze and trap that the EPFO Act has become.
(Veeresh Malik is an activist from Delhi, who continues to explore several things in life)
Rahul Salve
4 years ago
Majha aai chi pantion 3 mahine jhale aali nahi bank mangerla vicharal tar te bolatat heil 1 ,2 ,divsat tya sathi mi kay karu shakto mala sanga
Prakash Patel
5 years ago
This is institutional and organized loot, nothing else
Prakash Patel
5 years ago
Contrary to the claims recently doing rounds in media,PF transfer from on EPFO office to other office is taking too long ,in my case it is over six months since I have applied for transfer my PF from Pune to Baroda on the excuse that my previous employer does not authorized anybody for digital signature or Aadhar linkage with UAN like such nonsense.I wonder what is the use of UAN if you have to apply for transfer ? Shouldn't be done automatically when you submit UAN to new employer and he start deducting PF after opening new PF account when PAN,Aadhar,Bank account are linked?. Govt. must close this organization and transfer all PF holders to NPS. They simply refuse to change with new realties in financial world
mohan v
Replied to Prakash Patel comment 5 years ago
Govt. is intentially making EPFO transfer difficult so that they shift to NPS. And NPS is well concieved scam. Utimately govt. wants to grab your 12% basic pay in name of social insecurity schemes.
Ganesh Johnson
5 years ago
Forget UAT numbers. Why did they not use just the PAN to link all these various EPFO accounts that an employee opens up when s/he leaves and joins new companies? The income tax PAN is now more than 20 years old. Why did they have to invent this "UAN" again? Just one PAN and this problem would have been solved! But obviously, no one wants simple, common sense solutions. Everyone wants to "invent" their own number!
Chandragupta Acharya
Replied to Ganesh Johnson comment 5 years ago
Every one does not have a PAN. There will be many Class III / IV employees who do not have PAN.
mohan v
Replied to Chandragupta Acharya comment 5 years ago
Do not ever support govt. like them. They are focefully taking 12% of basic salary and also taking details. Can't they create a PAN card with same datails and money before opening EPFO account. Now what at the time of claiming back money? Is is legal to hold a account without PAN / Aadhar. Why EPFO accouts does not get auto closed if not linked with Aadhar. Because govt. to gulp entire principle + interest amount of poor uneducated and ignorant employees.
Chandragupta Acharya
5 years ago
The UAN project has been badly conceived and hopelessly implemented. The UAN is nothing more than your login id for the EPFO website. It does not do away with the need to transfer PF balance from the old employer to the new. If it was intended to be a unique number, even a simple check such as ‘the same PAN cannot be linked to more than one UAN’ could have avoided a large number (though not all) of duplicate UAN cases. This was elementary. Automatic and forcible generation of UAN even for lateral employees is a blunder. To make matters worse, EPFO does not allow one mobile number to be linked to multiple UAN, leading to employees with multiple UANs forced to quote different mobile numbers (such as those of family members) for their different PF accounts. So much for consolidation!

All the employee services - such as maintenance of employee profile & KYC, passbook download, online grievance lodgment, online transfer application etc. are handled through separate websites. Imagine a bank telling you to visit one website for balance check, another for statement enquiry and a third one for cheque book request! But that is what EPFO does.
Kamal Garg
5 years ago
But the more important and crucial issue is that why we need so many authentication in India for doing any kind of financial transaction. First, we were asked to provide PAN number, then in quest of KYC, we were asked to provide photo identification and resident proof, then, C-KYC, then, UID/Aadhaar and now, UAN. Why we are hell bent on harassing our citizens for their rightful things. And the irony is that all the successive governments have made life more tough and not easy. And see now, the government is hell bent on improving the ranking in "ease of doing business". You leave aside "ease of doing business", what about living a dignified life in India - why such plethora of laws and misjudgement and harassment on citizens' identity for their rightful things.
mohan v
5 years ago
Dear Author,

Pl. write a better article. Do you think govt. is struggling to link PF accounts due to technical details in a country India which
is IT super power?

Before i start my article, let me teach you about land grabbing.
In land grabbing, goons forge land documents and create duplicates and take ownership of it.
That is better where both of them can go to courts.

But in PF the scam is even more advanced.
Say, PF subsribers details are follows:

Name: Ram
Father name: Dasarath Raman Kapoor
Company name: Abacas Tecnologies (say, company got closed)

Now, the EPF officials change the names to follows :
Name: Rama
Father name: DHasar Rama K
Company name: AbacesSS Technologies

Now, when Mr. Ram tries to claim his PF, they reject it. Later Mr. Ram loses his ownership to his PF account.
Govt. officals then transfers this ownership to a BENAMI person. This benami person gives written concent that he does not PF.
Then Govt. grabs all money in name of welfare.

Bank accounts gets closed if not linked by aadhar by 31 dec.
But no deadline for EPF accounts.

Employers transfer salary to banks and later employee just consults bank for his money through cheque/atm/fund transfer.
But, in EPF employee has to be in touch with old employers, sometimes the employers which are shut down.

What a social insecuity.

Every month 1000's of rupees get debited in payslip as EPF contribution, but i cannot see them online.
My old EPF are not transferred to UAN. I don't see details.
But, still, 1000+ rupees gets deducted.

This is a special bankrupt organisation, where you lose money but still contribute monthly.
E.g Krushi cooperative Bank , Prudential cooperative Bank, Vasavi cooperative bank were bankrupt but after that people don't contribute money to
them because they are already bankupt. But EPF is special case, despite being bankrupt, we still contribute into this social insecutiy scheme.

Why not stop contibuting EPF and transfer that amount into salary bank acccount UNTIL govt resolves old epf transfer issues?
Only then govt. will look into it.
Request Moneylife to publish these kinds of solution specific articles and also a change/petition instead of some bank-charges petition.
Parag Gupta
5 years ago
Same thing happened with me. I have changed the job last year and given my UAN and Adhaar or whatever they have asked but still new UAN ha created. Now follow the manual procedure again to get old PF account linked with new UAN. I don't know what technical challenge PF department faces while linking PF accounts with same UAN when PAN Card, Name, Parents details and everything is same in PF accoints.
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