Sunday, November 10, 2013

My PF Woes

After trying to transfer my PF for last 6 years..I finally got fed up and wrote the following email to the PF team and the Ministry of Labor...hope this will helps...will keep you posted on how things turn out!!
Dear Mr. Ranjan,

After making couple of futile attempts via your EPFO's online grievance redressal system, I am forced to write directly to you seeking your intervention and help on a very trivial yet painful error in my pf records which is preventing the transfer of my pf funds to my new account. I was employed with XXXXX. (establishment ID - XXXXX) from the period of Dec 2006 to Oct 2007 and my PF account during that period was XXXX. Subsequently, I have moved to my current employer XXXX (establishment ID - XXXXX) where my PF account is XXXXX. After I changed jobs, I had applied for a transfer of my PF accumulation to my new account mentioned above, however, after few repeated attempts I realized to my horror that name in the previous account has been wrongly registered as Nishant Kumar instead of my actual name Nishant Kashyap. Now given that by the time I had applied for opening my account with the EPFO I must have written my name over a million times in various forms, examination sheets etc and the fact that I am an Engineer and a MBA by education (as in can be categorized as well educated) therefore, there is no way I would have entered a wrong surname in the form, clearly this was a gross error on part of the PF office where my name was wrongly entered. However, while mistakes are part and parcel of life, what makes them bearable is that if they are easily rectified and the wronged party does not have to suffer. Unfortunately, in my case, I have been made to suffer immensely for callousness on part of an EPFO employee. 

After realizing that my name has been wrongly entered, I requested my ex employer to bring this to the attention of your office for rectification, which was duly done by them through a letter dated 15th May 2013 (received by your office on 19th June 2013) and is attached with this email. However, even after receiving this letter when the name change was not effected, I lodged an online grievance on 18th Oct 2013 (HRGGN/E/2013/06539) requesting your office to take cognizance of this letter (the letter was attached with the filed grievance) and to honor my transfer request. However, even though I had attached a copy of the letter - I received the following response - "As per available record, your claim form-13 has been rejected on 18.02.2013 due to 'member's name differ'.It is further informed that any kind of change in name may please by conveyed to this office thru your employer only. ". It was as if after you have finished narrating Ramayan that the audience stands up and ask -"So who was Lord Rama?". Realizing that I may have asked for too many things to be done at the same time which PF office may be finding difficult to handle, I decided to file another grievance (again attaching the same letter which was submitted by my ex-employer) on 31st Oct (HRGGN/E/2013/06830).  This time I just requested that PF office to take cognizance of my ex-employer's letter and effect the name correction, the idea was that once name correction is done I can file a fresh transfer request. However, the latest response has left me totally stumped and speechless - "According pf no 28233/01 pertains to XYZA. So you are suggested to provide us complete and correct detail for the settlement of the grievance. " It is almost as if the person handling the Grievance could not read beyond the second last digit and therefore missed the 5 of 015 (the last 3 digits of my pf account in question).What is even more funny is that the grievance handler has provided the name of other account holder (who happens to be my ex-colleague) which can be seen as a gross violation of data privacy. All this inspite of the fact that the letter and my online grievance states the correct PF account number (I am also attaching a statement that I have downloaded from your website which further corroborates that this account number ending with 015 is indeed assigned to my wrong name Nishant Kumar so that there is no doubt left). Given this latest response I am now compelled to seek your direct intervention into this matter. I would humbly request you to kindly take cognizance of my ex-employer's letter and pls ensure that the name is corrected in your records so that I can then have the PF accumulation transferred to my new account.Before writing this email, I have also tried reaching out to you multiple times via telephone on the number mentioned in the email that is generated when I lodge the grievance (01242578633), however, no one picks the phone. I would request if the number is provided is such correspondence then pls ensure that those numbers are attended to.

I hope you will appreciate that this PF is very important hard earned saving for any middle class Indian and given the manner in which we are made to run from pillar to post to get the funds withdrawn or transferred none of us would actually like to participate in the PF scheme unless required by law. Since law makes it mandatory, I also hope that adequate provisions are made so that the rightful member get their dues. The recent initiatives to bring the processes online has finally provided us a window into this blackbox (and we all appreciate that) otherwise I have been trying to transfer my funds for last 6 years without knowing why it kept getting denied (and who should I blame for lost interest?) but from my experience there seems to be a lot more distance that needs to be covered. I am determined not to lose my hard earned money because of some stupid mistake of a callous PF employee and I would request you to pls take some action on my request.

A very harassed PF member,
Nishant Kashyap

So after couple of reminders and no response I was left with a feeling that my angry email has been sucked into a blackhole. But suddenly, one day I received an email from an Undersecretary informing that my case is being looked into and then after couple of months I got a confirmation from the EPFO that my funds have been transferred!! It took about 6 months or so ...but it actually happened!!