Women drawing a monthly salary of up to Rs 50,000 are now eligible to get ESI benefits.
In the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) plan, women’s participation stands at only 16 per cent. This is under 52 lakh in real terms. The move to raise the salary limit is aimed at improving this.
Following the recommendation of the board member V Radhakrishnan, the ESI board has also decided to set up a sub-committee to consider raising the salary limit of men from the current Rs 21,000. The Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) is also contemplating the provision of ESI benefits to all labourers irrespective of gender.
The findings of the sub-committee will be examined during the next meet.
The ESIC, during its 178th meeting on Friday under the chairmanship of Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar, took some important decisions towards improvements in its service delivery mechanism.
Under-utilised clinics for non-insured:
The ESIC during the meeting also in principle took the decision to open up its under-utilised dispensary-cum-branch office (DCBO) pan-India to non-IPs (insured persons) on a nominal user charges basis on the same line of opening its under-utilised hospitals.
Earlier, the ESIC had allowed non-IPs to avail medical services at its hospitals in Alwar (Rajasthan), Bihta (Bihar), Gulbarga (Karnataka), Bareilly and Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh).
Now, non-IPs can avail the medical services at a nominal charge of Rs 10 for consultation.
In the meeting, approval has also been accorded to provide cashless secondary and tertiary medical care services under Ayushman Bharat package rates to entitled ESI beneficiaries in the newly implemented area of 102 designated districts through PMJAY (Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana) empanelled hospitals in states where the scheme has been adopted by the states.
The ESI beneficiaries would get medical expenditure support of up to Rs 5 lakh.
About 450 more seats will be added to ESI medical colleges; at present ESI medical colleges have 900 seats.
A committee has also been set up to study how the functioning of hospitals can be improved.
The amendment that the government can decide the term of unofficial members, was also sent to a sub-committee for consideration after protests against it.
Increase benefits for those disabled during work:
The accident, disability and death benefits of all members under the ESI scheme will be increased by 25 per cent.
Claim procedures will follow the current format and the move to categorise claims into medical, sickness and accident has been dropped.The employee’s age, remaining service period, last drawn salary and nature of disability are currently considered for calculating the benefits.
The maternity benefits for six months will also be provided to those in super-speciality hospitals, it was suggested. The sub-committe will also be examining the viabilility of these moves.
Employees’ State Insurance is a self-financing social security and health insurance scheme for Indian workers. The fund is managed by the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation according to rules and regulations stipulated in the ESI Act 1948.
The ESIC provides health insurance to formal sector workers through its scheme ESI. It also runs hospitals and dispensaries across the country.