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A bank staff member counts Indian 500 rupee notes to give to customers on November 24, 2016INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images

For most salary-earning Indians, Employee Provident Fund or EPF has been a safety net for decades, helping us battle against inflation, medical costs and spousal nagging.

But with the interest rates on EPF falling to a five-year low, will it meet the needs of its over 6 crore subscribers?

The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation's (EPFO) apex decision making body - the Central Board of Trustees on Wednesday reduced the interest rate on EPF to 8.55 percent.

EPFO, India's retirement fund manager, cited lower returns from its investment in debt instruments as the reason for the rate cut.

Interest rates on EPF have been declining over the last couple of years in line with a fall in interest rates across the economy and other debt investment avenues including fixed deposits and government securities.

At one time, the instrument earned 10 percent per annum. Then it dropped to 8.25 percent but picked up slightly to 8.50 percent. It stood at 8.65 percent in the previous fiscal.

Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar, who heads the Central Board of Trustees said he expects the finance ministry to give concurrence to the 8.55 percent rate of interest. The proposal will be vetted by the finance ministry, who notifies the rate of interest.

Despite lower rates, the EPF still remains the most attractive fixed-income investment option. Currently, the government's debt instruments such as Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme and Kisan Vikas Patra fetch between 7.3 percent and 8.3 percent, while PPF attracts 7.6 percent.