ESI Corporation is the backbone of the nation’s economy. The importance of the organization would become known to the ‘ill-informed’ and the ‘innocents’ only when the organization ceases to exist. The economic miracle of 1945-71 of the West Germany became possible only because of the well-run social security system there.
But, the already-ailing ESIC in India, is under attack from the media, the self-styled ‘national’ media, now, for various commissions and omissions including the impact of having opened many medical colleges. But, these ‘traders in news’ simply forget the fact that it was they who did not care to publish even letters to editors when three retired officers had written to them about those issues in the year 2009 and 2010 itself. If these ‘traders’ had had real devotion to their profession, they would have applied their mind to the issues that had been brought before them and that exposure would have prevented the passage of the Bill bringing in amendments to the Act in the year 2010, by the MPs who did not care to discuss the issues in the floor of the house, in spite of the fact that those retired officers had taken the issues to their knowledge both in person and through email provided in the website of the two houses of Parliament. So much for the depth of knowledge and commitment of these ‘national traders in news’.
But, even while such exposure is being made in the media, the ESIC is under attack from various other quarters also as given below, making it difficult for the honest administrators to set things right even at that this late stage:
- the corrupt officials who just want to loot and share among themselves the ESIC funds,
- the association leaders, working overtime, to play power-politics in the postings of officers (by roping in the politicians in power) to bring in pliable officers, at appropriate places, to suit their myopic personal agenda,
- the indifferent officials who just do their work with honesty and sincerity but do not want to have macro-knowledge about the purpose of their work, the goal of the organization and the goings on in the organisation,
- the dishonest employers who do not want proper and periodical inspections to ensure correct compliance and payment of the dues legally payable but are conniving to shift the burden to the ESIC with retrospective effect when accidents take place in their factories and
- the middlemen called ‘Consultants’ who play a major role by assisting such employers, etc.,
- the inert statutory organisations, like the Central Vigilance Commission and the Office of the CAG which do not want to have proper probe into the issues.
- the indifferent peoples’ representatives who are in large numbers, who do not feel any ownership to the nation and do not spare time to understand the impact of the issues.
ESIC can provide medical and cash benefits properly only when its funds are managed in a professional way. ESIC funds can be generated only through proper monitoring mechanism by conducting proper inspection of all the covered and coverable units regularly. Its inspection machinery must be trained on core issues to detect concealment in coverage. The Inspectors (SSOs) and Officers must be equipped with more knowledge than the most knowledgeable but corrupt Consultants, about the intricacies of the provisions on Revenue. The ESIC must curb corruption and provide quality treatment in the ESIC medical institutions by adopting the caring the manner in which it was done earlier. Otherwise, the ESIC might be in the red, as predicted by its Finance wing.
Endless enhancement of limit for coverage cannot be the solution.
In the circumstances, the only consolation is that there are honest authorities of the ESI Corporation who are really concerned about the issues and are struggling every day to find ways to save the organization by resisting and circumventing the pressures given by these unscrupulous elements.
Should the public remain unconcerned?
Before narrating certain issues with evidence, two articles explaining the importance of the ESI Corporation are published here for information and basic understanding of the importance of the ESIC in the Indian social and economic life.
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