EPFO launches multi-location claims settlement facility to expedite process


Retirement fund body Organisation (EPFO) on Monday said it has launched a multi-location claim settlement facility to expedite member claims, moving away from the existing system of geographical jurisdiction for claim processing.

The facility will bring a paradigm shift by allowing offices to settle online claims from any of its regional office across the country, the said in a statement.

All types of online claims i.e. provident fund, pension, partial withdrawal and claims and transfer claims can be processed under this novel initiative, it added.

Covid-19 crisis has affected 135 regional offices of the with different levels of severity depending on their location.

The ministry said it was observed that though many offices in Mumbai, Thane, Haryana and Chennai zones operate with even less then skeletal staff on account of Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a disproportionate increase in claim receipt due to recently introduced Covid-19 advance.

Consequently, claim pendency in these offices rose to higher levels leading to delay in claim settlement cycle while other offices, working with 50 per cent workforce and with the help of

AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to be shared across Europe, says France


A deal between and four European countries for Covid-19 vaccines involves doses being shared by European Union members on a pro rata basis based on population, a source at the French President’s office said on Monday.

The British drugmaker signed a contract with France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands at the weekend for up to 400 million doses of its potential vaccine.

Governments have been scrambling to secure advance purchases of promising coronavirus immunisation treatments amid concerns within the EU that the bloc has not moved as fast as other regions or countries.

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“The principle of the deal is that the vaccines will be distributed pro rata, based on population,” the French source said. “What we’ve asked for and what has been agreed is for production to take place in Europe.”

The Netherlands also made clear on Monday that the vaccines would be available to all EU countries that sign up to the scheme after Belgium criticised the deal.

Belgian Health Minister Maggie De Block said the European Commission should

UK’s Johnson Eyes Brexit Trade Deal By July


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he believed stuttering post-Brexit trade talks could conclude by as early as next month, after a meeting with EU chiefs that saw both sides commit to ramping up negotiations.

An upbeat Johnson emerged from an hour-long video conference call with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and other leaders to reveal he had told them to “put a tiger in the tank” and add “a bit of oomph” to three months of talks.

“I don’t think we are actually that far apart,” he said. “The faster we can do this, the better, and we see no reason why you shouldn’t get that done in July…

“I don’t want to see (the talks) going on until the autumn, winter.”

The two sides earlier said in a joint statement that “new momentum” was required, after four rounds of negotiations and little to show for it.

The leaders also agreed to pursue a possible “early understanding” on the broad principles of the deal, in an acknowledgement that negotiations could run out of time.

It was Johnson’s first personal involvement in the talks, which began just weeks after Britain left the European Union on January 31 after

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