The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour (PSCL) was examining the Bill No. 375 of 2019 during the period from 23.12.2019 to 29.07.2020.
The Committee was seriously apprehensive of involving ESI Corporation with the responsibility of medical education and wanted the Corporation be absolved of the duty of medical education related aspects.
But the officials used the concept of ‘Quota for the Wards of IPs’ to convince the MPs that running the Medical Colleges by the ESIC was beneficial to the IPs. They threw out the said concept, later, within six days after they got the Code passed with Sec. 39 (5) of it coming out of Parliament unscathed.
Now, the details:
When the PSCL asked questions about the need for medical colleges to be run by the ESIC, the officials of the Ministry of Labour & Employment, adduced inappropriate reasons and justified the Clause 39 (5).
They said that the said cause was parallel to the provisions of Sec. 59 B of the ESI Act. This was a section inserted unlawfully without following the Due Process of Law in the years 2009 and 2010. Moroever, the Corporation regretted that decision to start medical colleges and resolved to get out of it in 2015.
Yet the officials of the Ministry of Labour & Employment ventured to justify the medical colleges in the ESIC fold and convince the PSCL by uttering misleading statements, as recorded in Para 8.9 of the Report dated 30.07.2020 of the PSCL.
They informed the PSCL
- that the medical colleges under the ESIC fold was “fulfilling the objective of reducing” the shortage of doctors in the ESIC and
- that under the Wards of IPs Quota, “more than 300 ward of IPs have got admission in ESI Medical Colleges to pursue the MBBS courses”.
Both statements cannot constitute the proper and relevant reply to the apprehensions raised by the PSCL.
- The ESIC had let loose many home-grown graduates from the ESI Medical Colleges to go free, after completing their graduation. (For more, https://flourishingesic.info/2019/04/15/rationalisation-and-the-peculiar-claim-of-non-availability-of-doctors/ )
- It did not enforce even the Bond executed already in respect of many of them. (For more, https://flourishingesic.info/2015/12/18/the-fine-art-of-squeezing-out-the-esi-fund-account-no-1/ )
- The Quota for the Wards of IPs for medical seats has been annulled all of a sudden on 28.09.2020 on the ground that there had been court judgments of June and August 2019.
Now the question is,
- If the court judgments of June and August 2019 could be cited as the reason for annulling the quota in medical seats for the Wards of IPs, why was the PSCL not informed of this fact, when it was functioning for seven months from 23.12.2019 to 29.07.2020?
- Why was the order annulling the quota issued abruptly all of a sudden on 28.09.2020, six days after the Parliament passed the Code on Social Security, 2020 on 22.09.2020?
The impression that one can legitimately gather from these facts is that the bureaucrats were working for a lobby, willy nilly, to hand over the ESIC Medical Colleges along with the major hospitals to private persons without imposing any obligation on them even to accommodate the Wards of IPs in providing medical education, especially when the judgments concerned were appealable on valid grounds.
If there is no utility at all for the ESIC to run the medical colleges, the ESIC should close down the medical colleges and utilise the infra (created amidst a lot of corrupt activities of humongous scale) to generate permanent revenue to the ESI Corporation by leasing them out to business houses in public auction in a transparent manner.
Working overtime to entrust the ESIC medical institutions to ‘any person’ as mentioned in Cl. 41 (5) of the Draft Code on Social Security circulated on 17.09.2019 or to ‘any other body of persons’ as inserted later in the Bill No. 375 of 2019 point to the lobby that is working for siphoning off the property of the Corporation.
It was absolutely improper for the officials to inform the PSCL about the benefit derived by the wards of IPs in admission to medical colleges and convince them about the need for the ESIC to run the medical colleges, while they had annulled the quota on 28.09.2020 and had been aware of the consequence of the concerned judgments given by the Courts 13 or 15 months ago.
Are they accountable or not for such a conscious and deliberate misleading statements made by them before the Parliamentarians?