Home Interviews ESIs ambitious plan One four Indians under its cover

ESIs ambitious plan One four Indians under its cover


(The News Network)

With an ambitious plan to reach to construction workers and workers of the unorganized sector Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) is expanding its activities in a big way. Recognizing the need expansion of has taken up a second generation reform agenda named ESIC 2.0. Once its coverage is expanded, the number of insured persons will increase almost four time to reach 8 crore. The importance central go

ernment is giving to ESIC 2.0 was so that Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has formally launched it during the Indian Labor Conference held some time back at New Delhi. Financial Commissioner of ESIC U. Venkateswarlu in an exclusive interview given to The News has revealed details of ESIC 2.0, its targets and the impact it can make on the lives of millions of workers and their families. Excerpts:

What is the present financial status of ESIC?

The financial condition of ESIC is very strong. The revenue targets for the financial year 2015-16 have been achieved. The expenditure in ESIC is being done with proper financial discipline. The reserves for different long term benefits for the Insured Persons and beneficiaries are being kept properly with financial prudence for keeping them free from worries.

What will be the strategy for implementing ESIC-2.0 Reforms Agenda?

Presently ESIC had 1.97 crore insured

d persons on its list. ESIC’s presence was limited to revenue areas of 393 districts in the country. In the ESIC-2.0 Reforms Agenda, target has been set to cover all the remaining areas of 393 districts of all the states and union territories of the country as well as to expand this scheme to construction workers and workers of the unorganized sector also. Once ESIC coverage is expanded as per the plan, which we hope we will achieve, the number of insured persons may become almost 4 times i.e. 8 crore. When we count their family members who will also be getting ESIC benefits the beneficiary number may become be over 30 crore. Thus, the ESIC may be covering approximately ¼th of India’s population and providing them besides efficient health services a good quality social benefit cover.

What are the challenges before you in the achieving this target?

The challenges are providing health benefits and better management at the state level. The system at present is that there are total of 151 ESI Hospitals, out of which 36 Hospitals are directly run by ESI Corporation. Rest of the 116 hospitals and dispensaries run and maintained by the state governments. Some of them are managed well, others are not. For these not so well health care institutions the Corporation from the Central level is trying to monitor and guide them for improvement.

What plans has the ESIC formulated for modernization and upgradation of medical infrastructure under the ESI Scheme?

We have adopted a two-pronged strategy: one is improving the existing infrastructure. The second aspect is creating new facilities. We have launched a special drive for their betterment & upgradation which include provision of higher facilities. In all the new areas, whenever they are notified, we will provide the primary care (OPD) within a month. Other benefits like cash benefit will start from day one. In the first 2 years of this expa

nsion they will be given the secondary benefits and which are available in the hospitals. If secondary care is not available, we will tie-up with private hospitals. After the second year, it will be again raised to tertiary level.

What initiatives have been taken to promote the AYUSH systems of treatment in ESIC hospitals and dispensaries?

We have got 1500 dispensaries; the target is that within a year we will be having Ayush facility and yoga in every dispensary.

How successful have ESIC’s forays been in the field of medical education?

We had decided to construct 12 medical colleges in the country. Out of these five we have already started. This year we will be starting four more and this will take the total to 9. Every doctor passing out from these colleges will be absorbed within ESIC. Twenty per cent of the seats in these medical colleges will be reserved for wards of insured persons.

What are the efforts ESIC has made to customize its benefit schemes to the needs of different worker groups?

There are medical health benefits and also cash benefits for the workers covered under ESIC. For the female workers there is maternity benefit. If a worker expires, his dependents are paid the benefits. If a person is temporarily disabled at work, then during the disability period he continues to receive the same salary. In case of permanent disability, till the age of 60 he is paid the salary. We have also covered the construction workers. Now, we are trying to cover unorganized workers like Auto rickshaw drivers on pilot basis for taking care of their health needs.


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