There was, all of a sudden, an amendment, which came into force from 01.07.2011, stating that it was intended to simplify the term ‘average daily wages’ mentioned in Rule 2 (1) (1-A) of the ESI (Central) Rules, 1950. The definition in this sub-rule is meant for regulating the rates of various Benefits provided under the Act while the definition in in sub-rule 1-B is for deciding coverage.
The need for such simplification, after the vigorous efforts to computerize all works of the Branch Offices is not clear. But, the fact is that that amendment has reduced the rates of benefits which were available to the insured population up to 30.06.2011.
- the employees receiving wages at the lower level like Rs. 5000 or Rs. 8000 etc., p.m. get less amount when they seek two benefits, Sickness and Maternity;
- the employees in higher income group get less amount of benefit only for Maternity;
- but, all of them get more benefits for Disablement.
Natural justice demands that no amendment should result in reduction of benefits, unless such reduction is actually contemplated and discussed openly before making such amendment.
Can there be reduction of benefits through indirect amendments without making the public aware of it through categorical proclamations, beforehand?
How can the bar under Sec. 61 of the ESI Act be justified, hereafter?
Readers are welcome to share their enlightened opinions!
Please Click on the small Presentation on Amendment that affects Benefits