- Indian government has decided to bring 30 crore workers under ESI Scheme
- Recently, the government has extended the ESIC benefits to construction workers
- The scheme provides full medical care to an insured individual and his family
- The ESIC Board also plans to widen the geographic coverage of the scheme
- A sub-committee of ESIC will soon start working on infrastructure development projects
In a bid to ensure health insurance coverage for employees in the unorganized sector, the Indian government has decided to bring around 30 crore workers and their families across 393 districts under Employee State Insurance scheme.
The Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) board plans to widen the geographic coverage of ESI scheme by December 2016. As many as 7.5 crore people have so far benefited from the scheme, but the health coverage is limited to industrial or commercial regions by Revenue Villages in these districts.
(A Revenue Village is a small administrative area in India. It has some defined borders and may contain many hamlets. The Village Administrative Officer is the chief of the Revenue Village)
However, recently, the ESIC benefits have been extended to construction site workers. Since these employees are prone to accidents, the center decided to extend the coverage to them. Though the country is still one of the health tourism hot spots in the world, healthcare costs have witnessed a phenomenal rise in recent years. Hence, lack of health insurance can be devastating for people in the low and middle-class families. Since assuming power, the government led by Narendra Modi has introduced plans to widen the social security cover.
Under the ESI scheme, the government authority provides full medical care to an insured individual and his family from the day he starts insurable employment.
Sources said that the ESIC Board has also decided to conduct surveys of all the remaining 271 districts, where the scheme has not been introduced so far. As part of improving the health services, the bed strength of ESIC Hospitals may be increased by 50 percent if the bed occupancy has been consistently more than 70 percent in the last three financial years.
Sources added that new dispensaries and hospitals will be developed across the country based on the geographical requirements. A sub-committee of ESIC to work out the modalities for setting up of a new structure in states will be set up in the form of a subsidiary corporation. The committee will have representation from state government and the Centre.