` 50 cr to be invested for ESI hospital

The existing building would be demolished to make way for multi-speciality facility in two phases

Union Minister for Labour and Employment M Mallikarjuna Kharge laid the foundation stone for the modernisation project of the ESI Hospital at a programme at the hospital‘s premises on Saturday.

The new hospital to be built demolishing the existing building would cater to advanced medical care for ESIC beneficiaries, with emergency trauma centre, modular OT complex, modern ICU, advance laboratories, blood bank and other infrastructure at the 3.48 acres of available land.

In his address, Mallikarjuna Kharge, who is also the ex-officio Chairman of the ESIC said the project would be completed in two phases. The modernisation plan also entails for addition of sophisticated medical equipment to extend a quality treatment to ESI beneficiaries in Labour sector.

Kharge criticised the state governments for poor maintenance of ESI hospitals. The negligence was not restricted to any one state. The scenario was the same across country. “People have a notion that the central government was wholly responsible for maintenance and service. However, it is the state government which maintains ESI hospitals and dispensaries. The ESIC provides upto 87.5 per cent of funding for salary, medicines and maintenance of the building. The powers to recruit staff, doctors and proper maintenance is also vested with the states. They should make use of the facility and bring honour to themselves and the state government. “The negligence of ESI Hospitals will bring disrepute to both centre and state. Governments should fill the vacant medical posts through state public service commissions. The states can also go for employing good physicians and doctors on part-time basis. The ESIC will pay the expenses,” Kharge stated.

The ESIC and the Labour Ministry has chalked out about ` 2,000 crore project to modernise the ESI hospitals in Bangalore, Hubli - Dharwad, Gulbarga, Davanagere and Mysore, he informed.

He said the Labour Ministry’s decision to enhance the cap on availing ESI benefit for the salaried class from ` 10,000 salary to the ` 15,000 covered lakhs of additional employees and workers.

Also, the Rashtreeya Swasth Beema Yojana of the Ministry has brought the agricultural labourers, beedi workers and other daily wage BPL families to become eligible for  ` 30,000 annual grant for a family of five. The Karnataka’s progress card is dismally poor as the Government has only identified the smart card beneficiaries in only four districts in the State, Kharge revealed. “About 8.5 crore people have benefited from the scheme in the Country,” the Union Minister added.

The asked the states to cooperate in ending the exploitation of safai karmacharis or pourakarmikas. The state has powers to jail the contractors who violate the rule, he said.
District In-charge Minister S A Ramdas, MPs A H Vishwanath, Dhruvanarayan, MLC G Madhusudan, MLAs Tanveer Sait, Chikkanna, C S Kedar, Director General Of ESIC, KPCC President G Parameshwar and others were present.

Hike in EPF interest rate

Talking to reporters, Kharge said that the Labour Ministry has recommended the cabinet for rising the EPF interest to 9.5 per cent from existing 8.5 per cent and it was firm on its decision. “We have written a second letter to the Finance Ministry on the feasibility of the hike. The savings of the workers have swelled to ` 1,800 crores with the EPFO. We hope that the finance ministry will respond positively, he said.

Asked on the status of Justice Majithia’s recommendation of 35 per cent pay hike for journalists and non-journalists working in Newspapers and News agencies, he said a cabinet note was sent to Ministries of Information and Broadcasting, Finance, Law and Justice and Corporate Affairs to file their replies. The recommendation will be placed for the cabinet approval soon after receiving the replies, he added.



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