"The notification issued on February, 10, 2016 is cancelled. Now the old system will continue," Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said at a press conference here. "I will take ratification from CBT (Central Board of Trustees of EPFO)," he said after violence rocked Bengaluru for the second day when garment industry workers torched several buses and attacked a police station protesting against the tightening of rules.

Later, the Labour Ministry issued a statement to say that "the workers are now free to withdraw the entire amount from the provident fund as per existing provisions... including the employers' share of 3.67 percent".

Earlier in March, the government had to withdraw a proposal to tax provident fund withdrawals, after widespread criticism of the move that was mooted in the Union Budget.

The February notification put curbs on full withdrawal of provident fund by members after unemployment of more than two months, while it also barred withdrawal of the employer's contribution before the age of 58 years.

The decision was first to come into effect immediately, but was first deferred till April 30 and then till July 31, before being scrapped totally this evening.

Giving reasons for the rollback, Dattatreya said, "The reason is the request of trade unions. The earlier decision (to tighten the PF withdrawal norms) was also taken by the opinion of the trade unions. Now, when the trade unions are requesting, then we have rolled back the decision."

Earlier in the day in New Delhi, the Minister had said, "The notification (tightening PF withdrawal norms) will be kept in abeyance for three months till July 31, 2016. We will discuss this issue with the stakeholders."

Dattatreya said employees and workers need not have any misconceptions in the wake of the cancellation of the order.

In a placatory move, the Labour Ministry also said it was contemplating permitting withdrawal of all accumulations by Employees' Provident Fund Organisation's (EPFO) subscribers on grounds like purchase of house, serious illness, marriage and professional education of children. The matter has been referred to Law Ministry for clearance.

People had also launched online campaign against the decision, which was first to be implemented from February 10.

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