8 Mins

Provident Fund is a traditional and popular savings scheme in India. There are three types of Provident Fund in India – General Provident Fund (GPF), Public Provident Fund (PPF) and Employees Provident Fund (EPF). However, the features, contributions, benefits and rules and regulations differ for the three types of provident funds. In this article, we will discuss the General Provident Fund (GPF) along with its features, eligibility, account opening process, withdrawal process, and the difference among the three provident funds. 

What is GPF General Provident Fund?

GPF or General Provident Fund is a type of PPF account for all government employees in India. Also, this account allows the government employees to contribute a certain percentage of their salary to the General Provident Fund. Hence, the total amount accumulated during the employment term is paid at retirement to the employee. 

The rate of interest of GPF is revised periodically as per the government regulations. However, the current rate of interest of GPF is 7.1% (as of last updated on 30th April 2021). 

Once an individual subscriber applies for the General Provident Fund, they need to contribute money unless there is a case of suspension. Moreover, as per the government rules, one can stop the payment to the GPF account three months before the date of retirement. 

Features of GPF General Provident Fund

The following are the main features of the GPF scheme 

Management

The GPF scheme is managed by the Department of Pension and Pensioner’s Welfare under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, and Pensions.

Membership

As per the Pensioners official portal, to become a member of GPF, the government employees must start contributing a certain portion of their salary to the GPF account. 

Contribution

One must contribute towards the GPF account monthly except during the period where the subscriber is under suspension. Furthermore, the subscriptions will be stopped 3 months before the date of retirement/superannuation.

Payment

Once the subscriber retires, immediate payment of the final balance is made. Moreover, one need not submit an application form to get the final payment from the General Provident Fund. 

Nomination

At the time of joining the fund, the subscriber needs to nominate a family member. Thus, the nominee gets the right to receive the accumulated amount from the fund in the event of the subscriber’s demise. 

Death Benefit

As per the GPF rules, the nominee is paid an additional amount in case of the death of the subscriber. Thus, the additional amount is equal to the average balance in the GPF account for 3 years immediately preceding the death of the subscriber. However, this is subject to certain terms and conditions. 

The additional amount that is payable under this rule should not exceed Rs. 60,000. Furthermore, the nominee can avail of this benefit only when the subscriber is in service for at least 5 years at the time of his/her death. 

Tax Benefit

Investing in GPF one can avail tax benefits on interest earned, contributions and the returns under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961. 

Eligibility for GPF

Any individual who fulfils the following criteria are eligible to open a GPF account- 

  • A resident Indian who is a government employee
  • General Provident Fund is necessary for government employees to belong to a specific salary class.
  • Any employee belonging to the private sector is not eligible for GPF
  • It is essential for the government employee to contribute a certain percentage of their salary to become a member of the GPF

How to open a GPF account?

One can open a GPF account very quickly. Moreover, the GPF account is maintained by the AG office (Accountant General) of the respective States: and Central in the case of Central government employees. Subsequently, one has to fill an appropriate form and submit it to the Account General of respective states. They will, in turn, assign an account number. Also, they prescribe a monthly deduction to be made from employees’ salary to DDO (Drawing and Disbursing Officer) of that Establishment. Furthermore, at the end of the financial year, a statement of credits and debits (on account of the loan) and closing balance, including interest accrued, is dispatched to the employee.

General Provident Fund Withdrawal Process

There are several purposes for which individuals can withdraw from their GPF account. There are specific limits and eligibility criteria for each withdrawal made. The below is the list of purposes for which an individual can withdraw from their GPF account – 

Purchase of consumer durables, medical expenses, education and illness

  • Limit: Up to 50% of the outstanding balance or half-year salary, including DP, whichever is lower. 
  • Eligibility: Can withdraw with the balance 10 years before retirement or on completion of 15 years of service (inclusive of broken periods), whichever comes earlier. 

Purchase of a house or land, construction or reconstruction of the house, repayment of the outstanding mortgage or renovation of an ancestral home

  • Limit: Up to 90% of the outstanding balance
  • Eligibility: Can withdraw anytime during the service

Overhauling/extensive repairs of a motor car

  • Limit: Up to 1/3rd of the credit balance or Rs.10,000, whichever is lower. 
  • Eligibility: Can withdraw after completing 26 years of service or 3 years before retirement. 

Purchase of a two-wheeler or four-wheeler or repayment of loan taken for the purchase of two-wheeler or four-wheeler

  • Limit: Up to 50% of the outstanding balance or Rs.4000 for two-wheeler and Rs. 22,000 for a four-wheeler. 
  • Eligibility: Can withdraw after completing 15 years of service or within 5 years before superannuation. 

Payment of subscription to Group Insurance Scheme

  • Limit: An amount equivalent to one year subscription fee towards Group Insurance Scheme.
  • Eligibility: Can withdraw anytime during the service.

Charges for converting the leasehold to freehold of property allotted/transferred

  • Limit: Up to 90% of the outstanding balance.
  • Eligibility: All officials can withdraw the amount anytime. 

Without assigning  any reason before two years of retirement – Rule 15 (1) (Q)

  • Limit: Up to 90% of the outstanding balance.
  • Eligibility: individuals who are due to retire on superannuation within one year. 

Difference between GPF, PPF and EPF

A provident fund is a savings scheme that aims to build a retirement corpus in the form of a lump sum. Also, it provides financial security to older people. Furthermore, there are three different types of provident funds in which individuals with income can invest. Hence, they are General Provident Fund (GPF), Public Provident Fund (PPF) and Employees Provident Fund (EPF). Firstly, let us understand these funds along with their differences.

General Provident Fund (GPF)

GPF is available only for government employees. Also, government employees must contribute a certain portion of their salary to subscribe to GPF. After the continuous service of one year, all the temporary government employees, all the permanent government employees, and all the re-employed pensioners are required to subscribe to the fund. Furthermore, GPF is taken care of by the Department of Pension and Pensioner’s Welfare.

Employees Provident Fund (EPF)

EPF is a government-backed savings scheme. Moreover, it offers social security to employees working in the structured sector. Also, any organisation consisting of twenty or more employees is authorised to be registered under the EPF scheme. Thus, the Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) regulates the EPF scheme under the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952. Additionally, if the employee completes 10 years of service, he/she will be eligible for pension under the Employees Pension Scheme (EPS. 

Public Provident Fund (PPF)

PPF is also a government-backed long term savings scheme. It was launched in 1968 under the Public Provident Fund Act 1968. Under this scheme,  both salaried, as well as self-employed people having business income, can subscribe for PPF. In other words, anyone can subscribe to PPF. Also, enrolling for a PPF depends on the choice of the individual. However, a subscription of GPF and EPF is compulsory for the eligible employee. 

GPF vs PPF vs EPF

All the three provident funds provide tax deduction under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Furthermore, the interest earned on all three provident funds is tax-free. 

ParametersGPFEPFPPF
EligibilityOnly government employeesOnly organised sector employeesAll resident Indians
Interest rate7.1%8.5%7.1%
Deposit LimitMinimum contribution up to 6% of salaryThe maximum contribution is 100% of employee’s salaryMinimum contribution up to 12% of employee’s salaryThe minimum contribution is Rs.500 per year The maximum contribution is Rs.1.5 lakh per year.
Maturity PeriodTill retirementTill age of 58 years15 year term
Premature closureOn leaving or suspension from government serviceOn 2 months of unemployment of subscriberAllowed after completion of 5 years on child’s education or medical reasons
Loan FacilityLoan can be availed anytime during the service of the government employeeNo loan facility, only partial withdrawals allowedLoan against PPF can be taken only on the 3rd and 6th financial year from the date of opening the PPF account

Conclusion

Therefore, GPF is a mandatory savings scheme launched for government employees only. It also helps fulfil financial goals like children’s education, marriage, or medical emergencies. Being a government employee, GPF helps them save a substantial amount for their golden years.