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Applying manually for provident fund (PF) withdrawal may soon become a thing of the past, as the retirement fund body is looking to roll out online PF withdrawal facility by March next year.

The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) is currently working on launching a system that allows its subscribers to claim their PF amount within three hours of sending a request. 

Earlier, in August, the EPFO had said that it was reconsidering a proposal to allow online PF transfer after the Supreme Court ruled that "Aadhaar card will not be a condition for obtaining any benefits otherwise due to a citizen".

However, the apex court on Thursday extended the use of Aadhaar card to some government programmes including employee provident fund.

"We have written to the Labour Ministry for approvals for starting an online PF withdrawal facility. We are hopeful of launching this by March end after yesterday's Supreme Court ruling," Central Provident Fund Commissioner K K Jalan told PTI.

Following the court's ruling, the EPFO seems set to expedite its efforts to roll out the online withdrawal facility that will enable its subscribers to get direct transfer of funds from the organisation to their respective bank accounts.

"We want to launch the PF withdrawal facility and sought certain approvals. But before launching that, we will ensure speedy verification of PF withdrawal cases of those applicants who will mention their Aadhaar in their claims," Jalan said.

The EPFO has to link at least 40% of Unique Account Numbers (UANs) with Aadhaar numbers and bank account details of the subscribers for the online withdraw facility to become operational.

So far, the agency has issued 5.6 crore UANs, with 92.88 lakh subscribers of them submitting their Aadhaar numbers and 2.75 crore providing bank account details, according to its website.

"During this month, we will start settling all PF withdrawal claims having Aadhaar numbers within three days against the mandated period of 20 days though the claims will be filed manually only," Jalan said. 

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