Finance Minister, Dr Haseeb A Drabu today directed the Jammu and Kashmir Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) to diversify the investment portfolio of its Rs 2200 crore corpus to achieve higher returns which can be used for employees welfare. While chairing the 78th meeting of board of trustees of the organization here at civil secretariat, the Finance Minister said that need of the hour is to utilize the fairly large corpus in a way that will be beneficial for employees as well as the government. The board was informed that the organization has a corpus of Rs 2200 crore, majority of which is invested in fixed deposits in J&K Bank. Dr Drabu suggested diversifying the investment portfolio intelligently. “Only a minimal amount should be kept in fixed deposits in banks and majority should be invested using different options viz GOI bonds, State bonds, infrastructure bonds, PSU bonds and others,” said Dr Drabu. The Finance Minister asked the organization to aim for cumulative return of 9.5 percent as against present return of 8.1 percent obtained from fixed deposits. “A blend of investment options will help in generating extra amount that will help you in times of distress or during times of low interest rate,” said Dr Drabu. He directed constituting an investment committee of experts who will suggest best options available with the organization to invest the corpus. The Finance Minister also approved Rs 10.44 crore budget for financial year 2015-16 for the organization. The board was informed that the organization has around 4 Lakh members with 3 Lakh members being live members. The members are from government departments, PSU’s, and from organized as well as organized sector. The Finance Minister asked the organization to spend more on awareness campaigns so that left over employees in both organized and unorganized sectors are covered. The Finance Minister also suggested to keep a provision in the budget for providing legal aid to workers in distress. To further help the employees, Dr Drabu suggested purchasing of and dedicating three critical care ambulances for exclusive use of employees in Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh respectively. The board approved the construction of new building for the organisation, which will be built in a span of six months. Creation of 17 posts was also approved and the same will be filled on fast track basis. The Finance Minister directed to complete the pending audit of last ten years with help of newly recruited internal auditors as well as external auditors. Stressing on need for end to end computerization of the organization, Dr. Drabu approved hiring of an external agency to provide a framework and complete the job at the earliest. The board agreed that the organization would be upgraded on the pattern of central employees provident fund organization. The Meeting was attended by Commissioner Secretary Finance, Navin Kumar Choudhary, Commissioner Secretary Labour and Employment, Shailendra Kumar, Member Secretary JKEPFO, representatives of trade bodies, employees unions and other officials.
2015 Kashmir Despatch