New Delhi: CPI(M) on Monday protested the move to reduce interest rates on deposits of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) to 8.25 percent for 2011-12 from
9.25 per cent in the previous year.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha, Tapan Kumar Sen (CPI-M) said the move is a "retrograde step" and asked as to why interest rates on employees' lifetime savings are getting cut when RBI has increased interest rates.

He said as the rate of interest on fixed deposits in banks and other financial institutions is fetching higher rates on fixed deposits, it should be done for the  EPFO as well because it is provider of the largest fixed deposits (FDs).

The EPFO deserves a higher interest because it is social security fund for employees in the private sector, he said.

He said that in view of continued price rise, the step to reduce interest rate on employees provident fund was "unjust" and will be opposed, as he urged members to join him in raising the issue and demand a clear action from the Government in this regard.

The Central Board of Trustees (CBT) is scheduled to finalise the EPFO interest rates for 2011-12.

Sen said the CBT meeting has been deliberately scheduled after the Winter session of Parliament.