There will no longer be any restrictions on withdrawing from the Employee Provident Fund, after the Labour Ministry on Tuesday cancelled its February notification, which said that withdrawal would be allowed only after the age of retirement, 58, was passed. Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya told reporters that the old system of PF withdrawal would continue, after thousands of garment factory workers took to the streets in Bengaluru for the second day in a row on Tuesday, protesting against the recent amendments made to the EPF scheme.

Dattatreya said his ministry decided to roll back the notification at the request of trade unions, reported PTI. "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," he said.

The announcement from Dattatreya came hours after his ministry removed some of the restrictions planned on the EPF and said it would allow withdrawal for housing, major medical treatment for the PF holder or family, medical, dental or engineering college fees, and marriage.

Earlier this year, the Employees Provident Fund Organisation tightened norms for withdrawing PF and allowed for employees to withdraw only their own contributions and the interest accrued on it, if they have been unemployed for more than two months. The employers’ contribution and interest can only be withdrawn after the age of retirement, 58. However, the rule will not apply to women resigning to get married or have a child.

In February, the government received flak for announcing in the Union Budget that PF, a major savings fallback for salaried workers, would be taxed. It later rolled back the announcement.