Niti Aayog is considering using unclaimed provident fund money to the tune of ₹43,000
crore to fund government initiatives like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Housing for All—these
are delayed due to insufficient funds. While this money can be fuelled into any scheme, it
needs to be secured as it can be claimed at any time.
The government’s think-tank, Niti Aayog, formerly known as the Planning Commission is
looking into the possibility of using unclaimed provident fund money to finance the Centre’s
initiatives. Niti Aayog is responsible for monitoring and implementing key schemes. For this
reason, it is mulling taking a loan from the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).
The EPFO is reportedly open to the idea of lending money to the Central government, to fund
its schemes, as long as it earns higher interest on it. The EPFO recently decided to overturn
the UPA government’s decision and credit interest into unclaimed accounts with effect from
2016. Interest generated from loans to the Centre will allow the EPFO to credit this money.
This money needs to be secured as it can be claimed at any point of time.
This is not the first time the EPFO is investing in central schemes; it has invested over ₹7
lakh crore in government bonds, debts and equity. The Modi-government needs ₹2 lakh crore
to construct 12 crore toilets across the country by 2019 under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
and ₹6 lakh crore to build six crore houses under Housing for All by 2022.