Govt starts dialogue to make ESI optional

The Labour Ministry has initiated dialogue with trade unions on amending the Employees State Insurance (ESI) Act to make it optional for employees, so they can choose other health insurance schemes, too.

However, Central trade unions have refused to agree to the proposal. The ministry will soon call another meeting to discuss the issue.

In an attempt to build consensus over the matter, Minister of State for labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya convened a tripartite meeting on Thursday to discuss the ESI (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

All stakeholders, including employers, employees and government officials, attended the meeting.

All the Central trade unions, including the CITU, the AITUC, the INTUC, the BMS and the HMS, were present at the meeting and collectively rejected the government's proposal.

Even the RSS-affiliated right-wing BMS strongly opposed the government. 

Trade union leaders D L Sachdeva (CITU), Abni Roy (AIUTUC), Amarjeet Kaur (AITUC), J N Tripathi (HMS) and Pawan Kumar (BMS) spoke against the proposal.

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