The Seamen's Provident Fund Scheme, the first social security scheme for Indian Merchant Navy Seamen, which was brought under statute by enactment of the Seamen's Provident Fund Act,1966 (4 of 1966) was introduced retrospectively with effect from 1st July,1964, to provide for the institution of a provident fund for seamen as old age retirement and their family members in the event of death of seamen members.

The Seamen's Provident Fund is vested in and administered by the Board of Trustees consisting of the Chairman and three representatives each of the Government Employers and Employees. The Director General of Shipping is an ex-offcio Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The Commissioner, Seamen's Provident Fund, who is Chief Executive Officer of the Organisation also functions as the Secretary to the Board.

This is a contributory provident fund and the employers are required to deposit the provident fund contributions in respect of the seamen employed by them with their matching contribution with the Seamen's Provident Fund Organisation after the termination of each voyage. The prevailing rate of contribution is 12% of the wages, leave wages, seniority supplement and 10% of supplement payable to the seaman. All monies belonging the Fund are invested in the Securities as per the pattern prescribed by the Ministry of Finance.

The accumulations in the Fund are paid to the seamen members on retirement from seafaring profession on attaining the age of superannuation or on account of permanent incapacity for work due to bodily or mental infirmity.

The needy seamen members are also allowed nonrefundable withdrawals for the longer period of un-employment, sickness, purchase of dwelling house, marriage ( for self and/or member of the familiy ), or higher education of the children.

As on 31st March,1999, the Organisation covered 33708 accounts and the total amount of provident fund accumulations is Rs.3,047,745,305.59

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