Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, 80 lakh Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) subscribers have withdrawn as much as Rs 30,000 crore in less than four months starting from April.
The amount withdrawn by EPFO subscribers exceeded the usual outgo recorded during the period, which could be due to layoffs, pay cuts and medical expenses, according to a report by The Economic Times.
"Of the total withdrawals, nearly three million beneficiaries withdrew upwards of Rs 8,000 crore under the Covid window while the rest Rs 22,000 crore was a general withdrawal by five million EPFO subscribers, mainly as medical advance," an official told the publication.
Responding to the report, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday alleged that people's jobs and savings have been "snatched" but they are still being shown "lofty false dreams".
"Snatched jobs, grabbed savings, could not even stop the disease from spreading. But they continued to show lofty false dreams," the Congress leader said in a tweet in Hindi, without naming the government.
The Ministry of Finance had in March said EPFO subscribers can withdraw up to 75%b of the amount or three months of the wages, whichever is lower, from their EPF accounts.
At the current rate, a total of nearly 10 million subscribers would have withdrawn money from their EPF accounts within the next few days.
"With Covid cases on the rise, the number of withdrawals are going up faster," said an official.
The Finance Investment and Audit Committee (FIAC) of the EPFO updated its members about the withdrawals at a meeting last week, the report added.