Give ESIC benefits to more workers, House panel tells govt

Give ESIC benefits to more workers, House panel tells govt
With a large number of workers remaining outside the ambit of the Employees State Insurance Scheme (ESIC), a parliamentary panel has asked the government to increase the wage ceiling to include more in the social security programme.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) led by senior Congress MP K V Thomas is also positive on the possibility of the ESIC admitting workers who can contribute voluntarily to the scheme, but only after putting in place the required infrastructure.

At present, 67% or 1.86 crore of the 2.75 crore-strong organised workforce – which is only 4% of the of total workforce of 45.90 crore – is covered under the scheme. Employees can avail the ESIC benefits if their wages do not cross Rs 15,000 per month, or Rs 25,000 in case of disabled workers.

The ESIC benefits include full medical facilities to insured workers and their dependants as well as cash compensation for any loss of wages in case of sickness, maternity and work-related injury.

In its response, the Ministry of Labour and Employment said the ESIC is exploring the feasibility of bringing certain categories of the unorganised sector within its ambit.

The committee felt that the ESIC should make all-out efforts to increase coverage of the workforce and ensure that its existing services and infrastructure are enough to deal with the insured workers and their dependants.

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