NEW DELHI: The labour ministry plans to soon provide medical assistance to workers in small establishments and self-employed workers such as autorickshaw and taxi drivers, and rickshaw pullers, in an effort aimed at universalising the coverage of benefits under its Employees’ State Insurance scheme.
This will help increase the number of total insured persons to five crore from two crore at present and benefit about 20 crore people across India compared to eight crore now, assuming a family size of four.
“The government is committed to provide good quality medical facilities to all workers and hence we are extending the coverage of ESI to benefit workers in the Northeast, establishments with less than 10 workers and self-employed workers like rickshaw pullers and auto and taxi drivers,” labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya said.
According to Dattatreya, labour ministry will launch a pilot project in November in Delhi and Hyderabad to extend the coverage of ESIC to self-employed workers and once the pan-India survey of insured persons is completed, the facility will be launched across India from April next year.
ESIC Act applies to premises or precincts where 10 or more persons are employed. The employees drawing wages up to Rs 15,000 a month are entitled to health insurance cover and other benefits under the Act.
Under the ESI scheme, the government provides full medical care to insured persons and their families from the day they enter insurable employment, with no ceiling on the treatment.
Besides, it provides for sickness benefits in cash at the rate of 70 per cent of wages to the insured person for a maximum of 91 days in a year, 90 per cent of the insured person’s wage as disablement benefits, 90 per cent as dependent benefit and Rs 10,000 as funeral benefit to the dependents or whoever performs the last rites of the insured person.