Category Archives: Administration

Sec. 97 (2A) of the ESI Act, 1948: Why was it inserted?

It is very essential for the bureaucrats to go by law. Not everything they do becomes lawful just because they are in power.

The purpose for which Sec. 97 (2A) was inserted in the ESI Act, is to be understood before attempting at nullifying its effect.

The following application is sent to the Hqrs. Office of the ESI Corporation under the RTI Act, 2005:

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                  Sub: Amendment to ESI Act – Insertion of Sec. 97 (2A) – copy of Agenda and                                    Minutes – requested.

Sir,

I would like to state that the provisions under Sec. 97 (2A) of the ESI Act, 1948 were not in the original Act of 1948. They were inserted later, through the Amendment Act 53 of 1951 (and brought into existence from 06.10.1951), while Sec. 97 (3) of the said Act was part of the original legislation enacted in the year 1948. . As the supreme body of the ESI Corporation had come into existence immediately after the enactment of the Act in 1948, this amendment of 1951 through Sec. 97 (2A), had, obviously, been made at the behest of the said supreme body, the ESI Corporation, which had deliberated on the need for such a provision under Sec. 97 of the parent Act.

I, therefore, request you to kindly provide me with the following information under Sec. 6 of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

  1. Kindly provide me with the copies of (1) the Agenda and (2) the Minutes of the meetings of the Standing Committee in which the details explaining the need for inserting Sec. 97 (2A) in the ESI Act, 1948 had been placed before the Standing Committee and its approval obtained.
  2. Please provide me with the copies of (1) the Agenda and (2) the Minutes of the meetings of the ESI Corporation in which the details explaining the need for inserting Sec. 97 (2A) in the ESI Act, 1948 had been placed before the ESI Corporation, the supreme body of the organisation, and its approval obtained.

I have paid Rs. 20 by means of IPO, (Rs. 10 being the fee payable under the RTI Act and the remaining Rs. 10 being the cost of photocopying the required documents). I undertake to pay extra charges for photocopying if advised to do so when the pages to be supplied are more than five.

Yours faithfully,

(R. Natarajan)

 

 

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ESIC on the wrong path, now: The middle management misleads !!

The speed with which the ESIC moves ahead to hold the DPC meetings for promotion to the posts of Senior Nursing Officers (by still calling them as Nursing Sisters) and Assistant Nursing Superintendents is worrisome. It is a clear violation of law on the subject, especially when the UPSC has assumed jurisdiction over that issue on 05.07.2019. When the authorities of a public organisation do not care for law, it is the citizenry which has to step in. A letter is, therefore, written to the UPSC inviting its attention to the ongoings in the ESIC. The powers vested in a Constitutional Body cannot be exercised by the Statutory Body. It is ultra vires and unlawful.

All those interested in Rule of Law in the ESIC may just copy the post and forward it to the UPSC. 

Serving employees to stay away please.

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The letter sent to the UPSC on 31.07.2019 is reproduced here:

31.07.2019

To

The Secretary,
Union Public Service Commission,
Dholpur House,
Shahjahan Road,
New Delhi 110069.
email: secyoffice-upsc@gov.in

 

Sub: Recruitment Regulations – Promotion to the post of Senior Nursing Officers – Group B –  usurping the role of the UPSC – by the ESIC – complaint – lodged.

 

Ref: 1.     Memo No. A/12/11/1/2017-Med. VI dated 04.05.2017 of the Hqrs. Office, ESI Corporation, New Delhi.

2.     Letter No. 3/12 (8) /2019 – RR dated 05.07.2019 of the Union Public Service Commission addressed to the Director General, ESI Corporation, New Delhi.

3.     Letter No. A/11/11/12/2018-Med. VI. dated 12.07.2019 of the Hqrs. Office, ESI Corporation, New Delhi.

Sir,

1. I submit that the Office of the ESI Corporation had published, in its website, a Memo dated 04.05.2017 inviting comments from stakeholders, on the draft Recruitment Regulations for the posts of Staff Nurse, Nursing Sister and Assistant Nursing Superintendent in the ESI Corporation. Thereafter the draft RRs had, obviously, been sent to the DOPT and then to the UPSC for their approval and concurrence.

2. The UPSC has, recently, conveyed its concurrence to the aforesaid Recruitment Regulations in its letter dated 05.07.2019. In all probability, that letter of the UPSC would have reached the Hqrs. Office of the ESI Corporation, at least before 9th or 10th of July 2019.

3. As per these Recruitment Regulations, approved by the UPSC, promotion to the posts of Assistant Nursing Superintendent and Senior Nursing Officer from the respective feeder cadres can be made only by the UPSC. When this provision has come into effect already, on receipt of the UPSC’s letter dated 05.07.2019, and the UPSC has, already, assumed jurisdiction over the promotion of the Nursing Officers to the cadre of Senior Nursing Officers, the Hqrs. Office of the ESI Corporation has attempted to unlawfully meddle with the procedure and usurp that jurisdiction of the UPSC by making vigorous efforts to hold DPC at its level itself, in-house. This becomes, clearly, evident from the letter dated 12.07.2019 sent by the Assistant Director (M.A) of the Hqrs. Office of the ESI Corporation to the Regional Directors of the ESI Corporation. Hence, this complaint.

ESIC letter 12 07 2019

4. I submit that the law on the subject is that the Recruitment Regulations pertaining to any post in the ESI Corporation come into existence immediately after they were framed / amended with the approval of the competent authority. The authorities of the ESI Corporation cannot, therefore, postpone arbitrarily, the date of enforcement of the approved Recruitment Regulations, by citing the non-publication of the said Regulations in the Gazette. Because, Sec. 97 (2A) of the ESI Act, 1948 mandates that

“The condition of previous publication shall not apply to any regulations of the nature specified in clause (xxi) of sub-section (2)”.

Sec.97.2. (xxi) is about the rule-making power of the ESI Corporation regarding the conditions of service of the employees of the ESI Corporation and I reproduce below the concerned Sec. 97 (2) (xxi) of the ESI Act, 1948 for your kind ready reference:

“(xxi). the method of recruitment, pay and allowances, discipline, superannuation benefits and other conditions of service of the officers and servants of the Corporation other than the Director-General and the Financial Commissioner”.

5. It would thus become clear that the Recruitment Regulations for the post of Nursing Officers, Senior Nursing Officers and others in the same cadre, as approved by the UPSC on 05.07.2019 had, already, come into effect on the date the Hqrs. Office had received that communication. Although the UPSC had mentioned that it must be published in the Gazette within 10 weeks, that does not and cannot have the overriding effect on Sec. 97 (2A) of the ESI Act, 1948, which is a statutory provision. Moreover, what the UPSC had done by mentioning the phrase “10 weeks” was to remind, in a routine manner, every department of the need for publication in the Gazette. The UPSC had not, apparently, been aware of Sec. 97 (2A) of the ESI Act, 1948, which the ESIC authorities knew, very well.

6. In the context, I would like to invite your attention to Sec. 95 which deals with the rule-making power of the Central Government and Sec. 96 of the ESI Act which with the rule-making power of the State Governments. Sec. 95 (3) says that the

“Rules made under this section shall be published in the Official Gazette and thereupon shall have effect as if enacted in this Act”. 

Likewise, Sec. 96 (2) says that the

“Rules made under this section shall be published in the official Gazette and thereupon shall have effect as if enacted in this Act”.

Similarly, Sec. 97 (3) also says that the

“Regulations made by the Corporation shall be published in the Gazette of India and thereupon shall have effect as if enacted in this Act”.

7. However, Sec. 97 (2A) is in sharp contrast to these provisions. The condition of previous publication has, categorically and consciously, been dispensed with, as per this sub-section, in respect of Recruitment Regulations, among others, mentioned in Sec 97 (2) (xxi). In short, the condition of previous publication shall not apply to the Recruitment Regulation.

8. The sum and substance of these facts is that the Recruitment Regulations approved by the UPSC and conveyed to the Director General of the ESI Corporation on 05.07.2019 have already come into effect, even without their being published in the Gazette.

9. It is only that RR which had been approved by the UPSC and sent to the ESIC on 05.09.2017 which can be called as the “Existing Recruitment Regulations” as on 12.07.2019. In that event, there can be no role for the Regional Directors of the ESI Corporation to convene DPCs for the posts of Senior Nursing Officers and Assistant Nursing Superintendents. The direction of the Assistant Director (MA) in his letter dated 12.07.2019 addressed to the Regional Directors of the ESI Corporation to “hold DPCs of various Nursing ….posts as per existing Recruitment Regulations of the post concerned” is, therefore, patently unlawful and ultra vires.

10. I submit that there can be no difficulty, at all, for the ESIC to get the promotions done through UPSC, to the posts of Senior Nursing Officers and the Assistant Nursing Superintendents. The very important fact is that the DOPT has, after elaborate consultation with the UPSC, issued its O.M. No. AB-14017/79/2006-Estt. (RR) dated 06.09.2007 laying stress on the existing RRs until they are formally amended. It is apparent that the middle management of the ESI Corporation has not placed all the relevant facts in the right perspective before the higher authorities of the ESIC in its desire to hurry up their unlawful action process and hush up the legitimate role provided in it for the UPSC.

11. I, therefore, request you to kindly intercede and ensure that the promotions to the posts of Senior Nursing Officers and Assistant Nursing Superintendents in the ESI Corporation are made as per law only by the UPSC, as per the existing Recruitment Regulations, which had been approved by the UPSC on 05.07.2019. The action of the Assistant Director (MA) of the Hqrs. Office, ESI Corporation, in having directed the Regional Directors to hold DPC as per the “existing” RRs is not correct, as he is unlawfully usurping the role of the UPSC and is preventing the UPSC from discharging its legitimate duty, when it has assumed jurisdiction in the matter of promotion of these Nursing personnel, as per the really “existing” RRs which came into existence after its approval by the UPSC and receipt by the ESIC.

12. I understand that the UPSC is going to recruit Nursing personnel taking into account not only the vacancies in the ESIC but also in other departments of the Central Government Hospitals. The UPSC takes up such assignments only when the indent is large. And, it was because the year-wise vacancies were small, the UPSC had refused, in the year 1975, to take up the work of recruitment of Insurance Inspectors in the ESIC and advised the ESIC to keep that cadre in Group ‘C’. That situation continues till date in the ESIC. But, the Nurses cadre in the ESIC is sufficiently large and the UPSC can club the vacancies in the cadre together with the vacancies in the RML Hospital, AIIMS, and Safdarjang hospitals and others and conduct examination for all the vacancies together and streamline the recruitment more professionally.

13. Besides, a Statutory Body cannot exercise the power taken away from it and vested in a Constitutional Body. But, the ESIC is trying to exercise the power vested in the UPSC. This letter is, now, written by me to the UPSC, because, in the given circumstances when the middle management of the ESIC is misleading the top management, only the UPSC’s intervention can provide instant remedy.

14. There is another course open to the public to get remedy through the court of law too. But, the ESIC, as a rule, does not file counter in such PILs in time, unless there is stay. In an issue involving Rs. 10,000 crores, when the Cabinet Secretary and the Secretary, Ministry of Labour have filed counter-affidavits, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the Director General of the ESIC have not filed counter-affidavits for the past two and a half years The case numbers are W.P. 33775 of 2016 & W.P. 35284 of 2016 before the Hon’ble High Court of Madras at Chennai.

15. But, I submit that the legal remedy through Court of Law will, necessarily, be resorted to if the ESIC tries to exclude the UPSC, through amendment to Sec. 17 (3) of the ESI Act, 1948 and go back to its original system of recruiting Nursing personnel at its level itself. But, until such amendments are made in the ESI Act, it is only the UPSC which should convene the DPCs for promotions and direct recruitments, as per the existing Recruitment Regulations approved by the UPSC on 05.07.2019. Its powers cannot be allowed to be usurped by the officials of the ESI Corporation.

16. I, therefore, request you to kindly intercede and stop the officials of the ESIC from going further with their misadventure of promoting Nurses, in-house, with reference to Para 4 of the letter No. A/11/11/12/2018-Med. VI. dated 12.07.2019 of the Assistant Director (M.A) of the Hqrs. Office, ESI Corporation, New Delhi.

Yours faithfully,

Encl: Letter dated 12.07.2019of the Hqrs, office, ESIC.

(R. Natarajan)

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ESIC on the right path, now: Nurses lead! Let the Doctors follow!!

Medical Officers in the ESIC

1988

For more than six months, there was a flurry of activity in the medical administration division. A powerful lobby from inside and outside was working to amend the Recruitment Regulations to wean away from the UPSC the power of recruitment of medical officers in the ESIC, in spite of resistance to it from the Director General, Mrs. Kusum Prasad.

Although the ESIC was made an autonomous body, Sec. 17 of the ESI Act, 1948 mandated that all the Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ posts would be filled up only in consultation with the UPSC. But, the lobby that worked succeeded and the amendment to Sec. 17 (3) came, along with many others in 1989, excluding the medical posts in Group A and Group B, i.e., from the posts of IMO.Gr. II and above, from the purview of the UPSC.

In the year 1991, during her visit to Chennai,  the same Director General said that the experience proved that the amendment was wrong.

2002 and 2003.

About 300 posts of IMOs were required to be filled by Direct Recruitment. The political masters wished to have their way with the selection of IMO Gr. II. They did not want written test but only interview. But, it was resisted successfully by the two successive CEOs of the ESIC. The recruitment of about 300 IMOs got delayed to some extent because of the political interference. Selection was, ultimately, done by holding preliminary written screening test. This was an unnecessary problem those CEOs had to encounter, because of the unwarranted amendment made in 1989.

These problems would not have arisen, if only the UPSC had continued to recruit the medical officers as was in position upto 1989.

2009.

An amendment was made, in the year 2009, to Sec. 17 and the very sub-section 17(2)(a) was not made applicable to the “appointment of consultants and specialists in various fields appointed on contract basis”.

Sec 17

The terms, ‘consultants’, ‘specialists’ and ‘various fields’ were not defined anywhere in the amended Act.

The terms of contract were not codified and the central government model contracts in health sector could not be cited as models, because of the exclusion of Sec. 17(2)(a) in toto.

The approval for this amendment was obtained from the Parliament giving impression to the Members of Parliament that these consultants and specialists were required for better delivery of super speciality services. Para 4 (viii) of the ‘Statement of Objects and Reasons’ that accompanied the Bill for the said amendment said that the amendment was intended to enable the ESIC “to appoint consultants and specialists on contract without referring the matter to the central government for better delivery of super-speciality services”. The Members, therefore, believed that the requirement of the ESIC was for physicians and surgeons to provide medical treatment on super speciality and voted for the amendment, relying on the Statement of Objects and Reasons.

Bill Reasons

But, in the amendment, i.e., in the newly inserted proviso to Sec.17 (2) (a), the important phrase “super-speciality services” had, simply, been omitted. Now, the amended Act permitted appointment of ‘consultant’ or ‘specialist’ in ‘various fields’ for any purpose. What is more, it had given carte-blanche to do anything without being restrained by the provisions of Sec.17 (2) (a) too.

If only the ‘specialists’ and ‘consultants’ were required for super-speciality services, the said proviso ought to have been inserted below Sec. 17 (3) only. But, that was not to be.

And, what was made of that provision later is beyond the scope of this post.

But, these problems would not have arisen, if only the UPSC had continued to recruit the medical officers as was in position upto 1989.

2015.

ESIC amended the Recruitment Regulations for the Medical Teaching Faculty posts in its medical colleges on 03.07.2015.

The posts of ‘Associate Professor’ are required to be filled by promotion failing which by direct recruitment or deputation or absorption or short-term contract.

The posts of ‘Director Professor’ are required to be filled by promotion failing which by deputation.

The posts of ‘Professor’ should be filled 50% by promotion failing which by deputation, absorption or short term contract and the remaining 50% by direct recruitment.

When there is such a ‘failing which’ clause, it necessitates the authorities to resort to that primary mode of recruitment-process first and then, if the vacancies could not be filled by that primary mode, to go for the secondary mode.

The authorities cannot choose the secondary modes by, arbitrarily, ignoring the primary mode.

2019

Advertisement is issued by the Dean of the ESIC Medical College, K.K.Nagar Chennai inviting candidates for walk-in interview on 17.07.2019 for appointment to the posts of Associate Professor, on contractual basis.

How could the post of Associate Professor for which clear-cut Recruitment Regulations are there, be filled on contractual basis?

Can any authority violate the RR in such a brazen manner?

These problems would not have arisen, if only the UPSC had continued to recruit the medical officers as was in position upto 1989.

Nurses in the ESIC

2017

The ESIC publishes in its website a Memo dated 04.05.2017 a draft Recruitment Regulations for the posts of Staff Nurse, Nursing Sister and Assistant Nursing Superintendent. This draft invites comments also within 30 days. Thereafter the draft RRs are sent to the DOPT and then to the UPSC too.

The salient features of the amendment are:

  1. The posts in the Nursing cadre are re-designated and re-classified as Nursing Officer ( Group B ), Senior Nursing Officer (Group B) and Assistant Nursing Superintendent (Group A).
  2. The recruitment process in respect of all these posts go to the UPSC.
  3. The DPC will be conducted by the UPSC and a member of the UPSC will be the Chairman of the DPC.

 05.07.2019

The UPSC has given its ultimate approval to the RRs vide its letter dated 05.07.2019. The selection process of the posts in the Nursing cadre has, now, been taken over by the UPSC. In fact, the original proposal sent by the ESIC on 04.05.2017 has come out unscathed as could be seen from the UPSC’s letter dated 05.07.2019.

The Recruitment Regulations are framed by the ESIC as a body, for all the posts in the organisation. They are prepared as per the Regulation making power vested in the ESIC as per Sec. 97(xxi) of the ESI Act, 1948. While all other Regulations framed by the ESIC with reference to Sec. 97 (i) to (xx) and Sec. 97 (xxii) and (xxiii) can be brought into force only after they are notified in the Gazette, Sec. 97 (xxi) had been, specifically, exempted from such pre-publication for enforcement, as per Sec. 97 (2A).

Sec 98 xxi

Sec 98 2A

The authorities of the ESIC have to and can enforce it from the very day on which they receive the RRs from the UPSC (in respect of Group A and B posts) or from the DOPT (in respect of Group C and D posts, where necessary, although the DOPT does not insist on its oversight on such RRs in certain circumstances).

New RRs of Nurses have already come into existence.

In the case of the RRs for the posts of Senior Nursing Officers and the ANS, the RRs approved by the UPSC and forwarded to the ESIC on 05.07.2019 have already come into existence, as per law. It is not permissible to argue that these RRs would come into effect only after they are notified in the Gazette.

In order to remove any confusion, it is clarified that the period of ten weeks mentioned in the letter of the UPSC for notifying the RRs in the Gazette is not the time given to the ESIC to, arbitrarily, postpone, for ten long weeks, the date on which these RRs become effective. Sec. 97 (2A) precludes and prevents such bureaucratic arbitrariness.  

The ESIC has, in its letter dated 12.07.2019 taken a decision to convene the DPCs as per the “existing” RRs of the posts in the Nursing cadre.

That is the correct stand. But, that “existing” RR as on 12.07.2019 for the posts of ANS and SNO are only the latest RRs forwarded by the UPSC on 05.07.2019.

Let the power vested in the UPSC, now,  for initiating recruitment process  for the posts of ANS and SNO be exercised only by the UPSC as per the existing RRs, i.e., the RRs received from the UPSC vide their letter dated 05.07.2019.

Let the Region-wise seniority list of Staff Nurses of all the Regions be merged together to prepare an all India seniority list in the cadre of Nursing Officer, which is the feeder cadre for promotion to the post of Senior Nursing Officer. It can be done in the same way it is done for merging the regional seniority lists of Assistants for promotion to the cadre of SSOs at all India level.

Let that seniority list be finalised and sent to the UPSC for initiating selection process at their level to fill up the vacancies in the cadre of Senior Nursing Officers and Assistant Nursing Superintendent.

This is the legal requirement as per Sec. 97 (2A) of the ESI Act, 1948 read with para 3 in the letter No. A/11/11/12/2018-Med. VI. dated 12.07.2019 of the Hqrs. Office.

The stress is on the phrase ‘shall not apply‘ as found in Sec. 97 (2A). It says ‘shall not’. It is mandatory that the ESIC should not wait for publication of the RRs in the Gazette for and before enforcing them. Those RRs sent by the UPSC on 05.07.2019 hold the field today.  This is the position of law. The ESIC Medical Division cannot withhold the RRs sent by the UPSC on 05.07.2019 and hold DPC for the post of ANS and Nursing Superintendent as per the, by now, old and non-existent RRs.

It is time the Doctors followed the Nurses.

Let the recruitment process of IMOs be handed over back to the UPSC.

 

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Shortage of doctors in the ESIC Hospitals: Where did the home-grown PGs go?

The Administration of the ESIC has chosen to transfer large number of IMOs from Bangalore and Chennai to far off places in the North. The reason advanced is that they are surplus medical officers here. But, the fact is that the number of patients has been increasing multifold requiring more medical personnel.  Besides, it is a paradox that while the regular doctors are transferred out, there are many doctors engaged on contract basis and they are allowed to remain.

The doctors transferred are told that they were granted Study Leave “for personal growth” in their “career”. It is also said that the ESIC obliged them and “contributed to their personal growth by granting them study leave”.

But, the fact is otherwise. As per Rule 50 of  the CCS (Leave) Rules, Study Leave is to be granted only “with due regard to the exigencies of public service“. As per Rule 50 (3) of the CCS (Leave) Rules, “Study leave shall not be granted unless it is certified by the authority competent to grant leave that the proposed course of study or training shall be of definite advantage from the point of view of public interests. Moreover, as per a Proviso under the aforesaid Rule 50 (3), a “Medical Officer may be granted study leave for prosecuting a course of postgraduate study in Medical Sciences if the Director-General of Health Services certifies to the effect that such study shall be valuable in increasing the efficiency of such Medical Officer in the performance of his duties.”  It is only when the authority considers that granting Study Leave to a person would be useful and definitely advantageous to the organisation that Study Leave is granted. It is not  and  it cannot be done as a charity.

The ESIC which utilises the services of the Medical Officers who were sent outside on Study Leave, is now transferring them to far-off places in a selective manner. At the same time, something  peculiar had already happened.

The ESIC authorities had, in a fit of frenzy,  set up large number of medical colleges in 2011 and 2012, at a stretch and justified that action before the Court also in the W.P. 12953 of 2015.

Home-grown Post-Graduates 

Those medical institutions were intended to produce PG students and make use of their services for a specified period of service as per the terms of the Bond executed by them.They had to execute a bond to serve the ESIC for specified period of years.

 

But, although the ESIC Medical Colleges had been producing many post-graduates, they were sent out, without their services being used  in the ESIC hospitals, anywhere, across the nation. How many such  Post Graduates churned out by those colleges from the year 2014 onwards were let off without the ESIC utilising their services is not known. But, around 500 were being sent out every year from 2015 onwards. They were, simply, let off.

Strangely, the newspaper Livemint had reported on 16.12.2015 that “the labour ministry has rejected a plan to mandate a Rs. 25 lakh bond on students enrolling in medical colleges run by the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), fearing the move could have been seen as anti-people”. That was really puzzling! For, that was an unlawful decision!

 

What is more? The Livemint reported, “Instead of the bond plan, Kataria said, ESIC will now offer students a 100% placement as soon as they complete the courses. “In 2016-17, we will absorb the 100 doctors graduating from our medical colleges, and by 2019-20, we will absorb 500 of them,” Kataria said. “It’s a 100% placement for our own students in our hospitals.” In that case, all those post graduates should have been posted in the ESIC hospitals. But, that was not done.

If only that bond had been executed, those PGs’ services could have been used by the ESIC as IMO-Gr. II for, at least, five years. Why did the ESIC use the workers money to produce PGs who were not of any use to the organisation, at all? Is that not anti-people?

It is even more puzzling, how the Administration is now transferring the doctors from the existing hospitals and sending them out to places in other states. The lack of knowledge of the local language, which is a prime factor, in the appointment of doctors, has not been taken into consideration at all.

The 2006 Transfer Policy for Medical Officers

It is true that the IMOs of the ESIC are subject to all India transfer liability. But, in the year 2006, a policy decision was taken and circulated too, informing the Medical Officers that inter-regional transfers would be effected only when they get promotion to the Senior Administrative Grade. It is that decision which holds the field till date.

Selective application of all-India transfer liability

Moreover, if at all, there has to be Rationalisation, the Administration should fill up the vacancies in all the centres by transferring all the people everywhere in a cyclical manner  and not just from a few centres in the South to a few centres in the North.

It is a fact that there is patent discrimination by the Administration in the matter of transfer of officials, depending upon their States. It is a long-time anomaly. The transfer policies brought in, in the year 2005, to set right this anomaly and to ensure  impartiality, uniformity, universality and predictability in the matter of transfer of officers have been silently buried and forgotten by the Administration.

Striking the balance between public and private interests in transfers

Hon’ble High Court of Kerala has held that the “right to transfer an employee is a powerful weapon in the hands of the employer. Sometimes, it is more dangerous than other punishments. Recent history bears testimony to this. It may, at times, bear the mask of innocuousness. What is ostensible in a transfer order may not be the real object. Behind the mask of innocence may hide the sweet revenge, a desire to get rid of an inconvenient employee...”Asserting that there can a “deceptive innocuousness” in the transfer orders, the Hon’ble Court said, “atransfer can uproot a family, cause irrepairable harm to employee and drive him to desperation.”  {Pushpakara Vs Chairman Coir Board, Cochin 19.12.1977- (1979) ILLJ 139 Kerala)and in llyas Ahmad Vs Station Director, All India Radio, Hyderabad (1979 – 2.5 LR -58, 1979-Slj -592. K. K. Jindal Vs. General Manager, Northern Railway}.

Colourable exercise of power

Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has observed, on 25.8.2003, that “Transfer is an incidence of public service and the power to transfer is available to be exercised by the employer unless an express bar or restraint on the exercise of such power can be spelt out.  The power, like all other administrative powers, has to be exercised bona fide”.  (State of Rajasthan & Ors  Vs. Anand Prakash Solanki –C.A.NO. 6733 OF 2003). If there is shortage of officials / medical officers in one region, the Administration should make it a routine to transfer all the officers everywhere in a cyclical manner and post them everywhere. Holding out the condition of all-India transfer liability only to one section of officers / doctors amounts to selective discrimination, through arbitrary and colourable exercise of power.

“One cannot but deprecate that frequent, unscheduled and unreasonable transfers can uproot a family, cause irreparable harm to a Government servant and drive him to desperation. It disrupts the education of his children and leads to numerous other complications and problems and results in hardship and demoralisation. It therefore follows that the policy of transfer should be reasonable and fair and should apply to everybody equally. But, at the same time, it cannot be forgotten that so far as superior or more responsible posts are concerned, continued posting at one station or in one department of the Government is not conductive to good administration. It creates vested interest and therefore we find that even from the British times the general policy has been to restrict the period of posting for a definite period. We wish to add that the position of Class III and Class IV employees stand on a different footing. We trust that the Government will keep these considerations in view while making an order of transfer”, observed the Supreme Court in Varadha Rao vs State Of Karnataka And Ors. on 26 August, 1986.

Students are not substitutes 

The ESIC Administration should not make any attempt to show the PG Students as Doctors. Students cannot be shown as substitutes for doctors. Besides, they had not been taken into account to calculate the Sanctioned Strength of medical officers or to arrive at the findings on the so-called Rationalisation, in the hospitals both in the South and in the North.

Double-speak impermissible

An organisation that officially declared some doctors as those belonging to teaching faculty cannot take a different stand stating that it did so just in order to help those doctors to have an impressive CV. That would be a confession in having cheated the MCI. No law permits anyone to approbate and reprobate at one and the same time.

What fairness necessitates

It is only fair that the existing doctor-patient ratio is not disturbed, specially when more and more patients are coming in to these Hospitals for treatment. It is necessary that less number of doctors are not made to take care of more number of patients.

It is only fair that the vacancies, if any, at other places are filled,  not by posting only the doctors from the South but by evolving a uniform policy that applies to all the doctors everywhere.

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DACP Mechanism Vs. Recruitment Regulations

(Traditional literature permitted historical fictions both as stories or plays. But, the modern literature permits stories and plays based on contemporary history. The present one is an imaginary play based on contemporary history with the intention of clearing many a doubt on the part of various persons working in various organisations where the DACP is implemented).

 Act I : Scene I

Scene: Office of a busy lawyer at 7’O clock in the morning.

Cast: Mr. A, Mr. B, Mr. C and Ms. D, working as Assistant Professors in an ESIC PGMSR and a lawyer.

  

(The lawyer is going through the sheaf of papers presented by the Assistant Professors. Sullen silence prevails after a long discussion. The lawyer breaks the ice.)

Lawyer: (Placing the papers on his table) Yes. I went through your papers last night. Your grievance is genuine. I shall take up your case. My fee is about twenty per cent of your estimated arrears. You must know that I always charge very reasonably.

(The Assistant Professors are shocked and have been rendered speechless for  a moment. Dr. A then recovers from the jolt first.)

Dr. A: Sir, the fee seems to be very huge.

Lawyer: Huge? You know what huge means? Conduct a survey. You will know yourself. My charge is very moderate. That is what I feel.

Dr. A: OK Sir, we have to discuss the issue among ourselves and other colleagues. Let us come back in a few minutes.

Lawyer: Yeah, that is fair. (The Assistant Professors leave the room. When they are about to be out of sight, the Lawyer shouts). Hello,  keep in view the fact that I have not charged you the Consultation Fee. If you decide on  engaging me, the consultation is free. (Ms. D, who leaves last nods her head).

 

Act I Scene II.

Scene: Garden in front of the office of the lawyer.

Cast: All the four Assistant Professors.

 

 (The Assistant Professors discuss in a low hush-hush voice among themselves)

Dr. A: Friends, the lawyer wants 20% of our estimated arrears. Is it not a huge fee? Can we afford it?

Dr. B: It is huge, indeed. But, how will he calculate our arrears? We ourselves do not know.

Dr. C: Did you hear him right. He did not say 20%. He said that his fee was “about” 20 %. It seems he would make some calculation, arrive at an imaginary figure and ask us to pay it in advance.

Dr. B: Why not we go and meet some other lawyer who would charge less?

Dr. D: Of course, there are some lawyers who do it for free too.

Dr. C: But, they are not useful to us.

(Mr. A talks to some of his colleagues over mobile. Folds it up and looks at his friends)

Dr. A: Our friends say that we may engage this lawyer himself. Shall we move in?

(They move inside the chamber of the lawyer)

Act II: Scene I

Scene: Office of the lawyer.

Cast: The Assistant Professors and the lawyer.

 

Dr. A: Yes sir ! We agree to your terms.

(They hand over a wad of currency notes to the lawyer. He keeps the currency bundle in his drawer, feels invigorated, sits up in his chair and looks at them, cheerfully beaming with energy)

Lawyer: Yes, let us go ahead ! Let us analyse the case. You are all working in the ESIC Medical College as Assistant Professors from the year 2011 onwards, and some of you from 2013 onwards.

At the time of inviting applications for the post of the Assistant Professor, the ESIC had, in Para B (v) of its advertisement dated 05.11.2012, held out a categorical, clear and unambiguous promise that the “promotional avenues in the Department are available under DACP guidelines of the Government of India”.

As per Para 2. B of the DACP guidelines of the Government of India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, O.M. F.No. A-45012/2/2008-CHS. V dated 29.10.2008, the first benefit of DACP would be given to those in the Teaching Sub Cadre who have completed two years of regular service in the Grade pay of Rs. 6600 in PB-3.

Accordingly, you should have been promoted as Associate Professors in the pay band of Rs. 15600-39100 with Grade Pay of Rs. 7600, in the years 2013 and 2015 respectively, after completion of two years of regular service as Assistant Professor. But, the ESiC has not given that benefit of Assured Career Progression till date. Right?

Dr. A: Yes sir.

Lawyer: You have given representations also individually seeking such promotion to the post of  Associate Professor. Yet, there is no positive result yet. Right?

Dr. A: Yes sir.

Lawyer: The position of law on the subject is that as per Sec. 17 (2) (a) of the existing ESI Act, 1948, “The method of recruitment, salary and allowances, discipline and other conditions of service of the members of the staff of the Corporation shall be such as may be specified in the regulations made by the Corporation in accordance with the rules and orders applicable to the officers and employees of the Central Government drawing corresponding scales of pay”. Consequently, it is mandatory on the part of the ESIC to enforce in the ESI Corporation, the orders of the Central Government which are applicable to the officers of the Central Government drawing corresponding scales of pay. The rules and orders pertaining to the salary and allowances, method of recruitment and other conditions of service of the employees become applicable to the employees of the ESI Corporation also automatically, by virtue of the aforesaid Sec. 17(2)(a). Right?

Dr. A: Yes sir.

Lawyer: The Proviso to the said Sec. 17 (2) (a) mandates that “where the Corporation is of the opinion that it is necessary to make a departure from the said rules or orders in respect of any of the matters aforesaid, it shall obtain the prior approval of the Central Government”. If at all the ESIC wants to deviate from the directions given in those Rules and Orders of the Government of India, it must obtain the prior approval of the Government, explaining proper reasons which are not arbitrary.

Dr. A: Yes sir.

Lawyer: The Administration says now that the Recruitment Regulations for the Medical Teaching Faculty Posts which had been amended and brought into force w.e.f. 03.07.2015 specified that for promotion to the post of Associate Professor one should have put in five years of regular service in the feeder cadre of Assistant Professor. Citing this, they convince you that you could not be promoted as Associate Professor until you complete five years of service as Assistant Professor. Yes?

Dr. A: Yes sir.

Lawyer: What was the provision in the Recruitment Regulations which were in force when the Advertisement was given on 05.11.2012?

Dr. A: Sir, there existed another set of Recruitment Regulations dated 02.05.2009 for the Medical Teaching Faculty Posts, when the authorities invited applications for the post of Assistant Professor on 05.11.2012. Those Recruitment Regulations provided for time-bound promotion for Assistant Professors to the post of Associate Professors after they put in four years of regular service as Assistant Professors.

Lawyer: But, now you know that the ESIC authorities advertised for the post of Assistant Professors on 05.11.2012 promising time bound promotion to the post of Associate Professor after two years of regular service, knowing full well that the then existing Recruitment Regulations prescribed four years of regular service as the Essential Qualification for promotion to that cadre. Okay?

Dr. A: Yes, sir.

Lawyer: What does it imply? It implies that the officials who dealt with the issues at that time, knew the concept clearly. The officials who deal with the issue now do not understand the concept and make a mess of it.

Dr. A: How?

Lawyer: yes. The fact is the officials who deal with the issue now have, simply, forgotten the fact that the ACPS (Assured Career Progression Scheme), MACPS (Modified Assured Career Progression Scheme) and DACPS (Dynamic Assured Career Progression Scheme) are there only to supplement and improve upon the already existing Recruitment Rules / Recruitment Regulations. The Recruitment Regulations, which provide only for the normal promotional avenues, cannot be invoked to deny and supplant the DACPS or ACPS or MACPS. So, the contents of the MOH&FW order dated 29.10.2008 on DACPS would prevail over the said Recruitment Regulations. But, the officials in the Hqrs. are ignorant of these rudimentary facts.

Dr. A: I see.

Lawyer: So, it is unlawful for the authorities to cite the Recruitment Regulations (either the present one dated 03.07.2015 or the earlier one dated 02.05.2009) to deny the benefit of DACP for which you became entitled to on completion of two years of regular service as Assistant Professor.

Dr. A: Yes.

Lawyer: Moreover, the DACPS benefit is not linked to vacancies but is akin to time-bound promotion, which has to be given with retrospective effect too, if there had been delay in convening the meetings of the DPCs / Review Committees under the DACP Scheme. The authorities cannot, therefore, hold out the later-day Recruitment Regulations of 03.07.2015 to deny the benefit that accrued to all of you already on 22.03.2015 FN. This is only an additional argument, because the RRs do not have the effect of supplanting the DACP guidelines of the Government of India.

Dr. A: I find substance in your argument.

Lawyer:  We must stress on the fact that the authorities had offered through their advertisement dated 05.11.2012, to implement the DACP guidelines in respect those who opt for service in the ESIC Medical Colleges, in spite of their being aware of the contents of those Recruitment Regulations dated 02.05.2009 which were in force as on 05.11.2012.

Dr. A: Yes sir.

Lawyer: Another additional point is that there is no reason for the authorities to deny DACP benefits to those who completed two years of regular service even before the later amendment came into force on 03.07.2015. Seen in the light of this fact, the Speaking Order issued by the Hqrs. in C-18/11/7/16- Med VI dated 03.07.2017 is patently incorrect.

Dr. A: Is it?

Lawyer: Yes. I do not know whether you have seen it. It is a case of Assistant Professors (Dental) in the ESIC Dental College. As per the DACP guidelines for Assistant Professors (Dental), promotion will have to be made without linkage to vacancies, for those who have completed two years of regular service in that cadre. “Other conditions for effecting promotion will be governed by the respective Recruitment Rules as amended from time to time and DOPT instruction in this regard”. The Assistant Professors (Dental) in that case had joined in the year 2011. They had completed two years of service in the year 2013. They had become entitled to the DACP in the year 2013 itself. If the DPC had met in the year 2013 they would have got their benefit under the DACP. But, there had been delay and the RRs had later been amended on 23.12.2014. This RR which came into force on 23.12.2014 cannot deny the benefit that accrued to the Assistant Professors (Dental) in the year 2013, which can be and has to be given with retrospective effect, as the DACP, ACP, MACP are not linked to vacancies. This is only an Assured career progression and not a vacancy-based promotion, which alone can have prospective effect from or after the date of DPC. The speaking order dated 03.072017 is clearly wrong.

Dr. A: I see your point.

Lawyer: There is a possibility that similar unlawful and unjustifiable stand would be taken in your cases also. You have to pre-empt it. Or you must complain against the officials of the Hqrs. Office who misguide the Medical Commissioner to issue such a patently wrong order.

Dr. A: I agree.

Lawyer: Moreover, there is the theory of Promissory Estoppel. The promise made by the authorities in their advertisement dated 05.11.2012 falls very clearly within the definition of the term ‘Promissory Estoppel’. The authorities are, by law, prevented from breaking it, especially when you had acted upon that promise. The promise given by the authorities on 05.11.2012 was an enforceable promise, a clear and definite one at that. There is nothing on record to show that the promise was given only with the intention of breaking it later.

Dr. A: I understand.

Lawyer: That promise made by the authorities on 05.11.2012 prevents them from going back on it, especially after the Applicant had acted on it. It had been made with intent to make you to rely upon that promise. You had not only relied upon it but acted upon it too for a continuous period of two years. You had (i) acted on that promise held out on 05.11.2012, (ii) applied for the post of Assistant Professor, (iii) joined the services of the institute and (iv) rendered service for two years hoping all along that the authorities would fulfil their promise on completion of two years’ service. The authorities ought, therefore, to fulfil that promise. They are estopped from reneging from their earlier stand as communicated, on 05.11.2012, to you as one of the terms and conditions of appointment.

Dr. A: When this being the position of law, how come they issued an order like the one dated 03.07.2017 in the case of Assistant Professors (Dental)?

Lawyer: That was a clear case of negligence on the part of the officials who processed the case. A copy of the filenoting, if obtained under the RTI Act, would show who had misled the Medical Commissioner thus. Depending upon the material evidence available thus, you can proceed against the concerned officials under Sec. 24 of the IPC too, after obtaining permission from the Director General to prosecute them for having caused wrongful loss to you.

Dr. A. Why are they not understanding the concept of DACP then?

Lawyer: It is just unwillingness to read the instructions. The orders of the Central Government on the DACPS (just like the ACP and MACP) are intended to improve upon the normal promotional avenues contemplated under the Recruitment Regulations notified in the Gazette for each cadre. This has been repeatedly made clear by the DOPT also right from the year 1999, when the ACP was introduced.  The order dated 29.10.2008 cannot, therefore, be refused to be enforced in the ESI Corporation by citing the later day Regulations of 03.07.2015.

Dr. A: Are we entitled to the benefits available to those who are under the CHS?

Lawyer: Yes, of course. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and the Jawaharlal Institute of Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research. Puducherry (JIPMER) are also Central Autonomous Bodies like the ESI Corporation. The orders dated 29.10.2008 of the Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India regarding DACPS have already been enforced in those Central Autonomous Bodies. There is, therefore, no justification in denying the benefit to the teaching faculty in the Medical institutions of the ESIC, when Sec. 17(2) (a) of the Act mandates such benefit to be conferred on them.

Moreover, the Principal Bench of the Hon’ble Central Administrative Tribunal, Delhi has in the case involving the conditions of service of the Pharmacists of the ESIC, ruled that the ESIC “cannot claim immunity from creating proper cadre structure”, especially when various State Governments and the AIIMS have a well-defined cadre structure. Hon’ble Principal Bench made such an observation in the light of the fact that the “Pharmacy Council of India, the Apex Statutory Body to regulate the Pharmacy in the country has itself recommended that every health delivery agencies should have a well-defined cadre structure for their Pharmacists”. (Udhay Veer Singh Vs. ESIC – 06.05.2015). The same ratio is applicable to the teaching faculty also in the ESIC, whose cadre structure has all along been on the lines of the structure in the CHS. The authorities are, therefore, required to confer the benefit of DACPS on the teaching faculty of the ESIC Medical institutions, as per the orders of the Department of Health & Family Welfare dated 29.10.2008.

Dr. A: I see.

Lawyer: Besides, as per Sec. 17 (2) (a) the pay and allowances and other conditions of service of the employees of the ESI Corporation are to be in accordance with the rules and orders applicable to the corresponding category of central government employees. Any denial of the benefit of the orders dated 29.10.2008 of the Department of Health & Family Welfare on the DACPS would be in clear violation of the provisions of the aforesaid Sec. 17 (2) (a) of the ESI Act, 1948, which is not permissible in law.

To sum up, you are all entitled to the benefit of Dynamic Assured Career Progression Scheme and get promoted to the post of Associate Professor in the pay band of Rs. 15600-39100 with Grade Pay of Rs. 7600 with effect from the date succeeding the day on which you had completed two years of regular service in the cadre of Assistant Professor in the ESIC PGIMSR. (At this moment, the ten-years old daughter of the Lawyer enters into the room. The lawyer looks at the wall clock. It is 7.45 AM. Time for him to go to a nearby town for a family function for which his wife has left already. His ten-years old daughter would not go with mother. She wants to accompany her indulgent father and has, therefore, entered into the office of the lawyer to remind him. The lawyer rises up. The doctors understand that their appointment is over)

Dr. A, B, C & D: Thank you, sir ! (The lawyer reciprocates their gesture. The doctors get up and move outside)

Act III Scene I

 

Scene: Near the exit gate of the house of the lawyer.

Cast: The Assistant Professors and the lawyer and his daughter.

 

(When the Assistant Professors are walking across the garden in front of the house of the lawyer, the car of the lawyer overtakes them. Suddenly, Mr. C, waves at the car to stop it. The car stops near them and the lawyer peeps out with an inquiring glance.)

Dr. C: Sir, when we pay, will you give receipt so that we could account for it before our friends?

Lawyer: Yes, of course ! And, you will have to pay 20% more for that.

(All the Assistant Professors are gasping in unison)

Lawyer: Hey, What happened? Shocked? No. Be happy! I haven’t charged 20% on that 20%, you know. I am, always, reasonable.  Charging only 20 instead of 30%. (The Lawyer drives the car on. But, the car stops at a distance. He peeps out of the car and shouts at the Assistant Professors there). Hey, GST, GST ! Keep that in view too !!

(The car glides away and disappears at a distance. The shell-shocked doctors take some time to recover.)

Dr. Ms. D: I didn’t know, yaar! Had I known, I would also have gone for advocacy.

Act III Scene II.

 

Scene: A highway.

Cast: The lawyer and his daughter in their car.

 

 No traffic rush is there on the highway. Only a few vehicles in sight sporadically. The Lawyer drives the car at slow speed. He switches off the AC and downs the window facilitating his daughter enjoy the cool morning breeze. His daughter prefers travelling in open car, always.

ACPS and DACP are different from normal promotions. It is for the normal vacany-based promotions or normal time-bound promotions, the provisions of the RRs have to  be invoked and the condition regarding the period of residency mentioned in the RRs required to be fulfilled. Introduction of ACP or DACP schemes was in addition to the avenues of promotion prescribed in the RRs. These schemes  are not to affect normal promotional avenue. While elaborating these facts pertaining to the ACP in its O. M. dated 09.08.1999, the DOPT had said, “The Fifth Central Pay Commission in paragraph 52.15 of its Report has also separately recommended a “Dynamic Assured Career Progression Mechanism” for different streams of doctors. It has been decided that the said recommendation may be considered separately by the administrative Ministry concerned in consultation with the Department of Personnel and Training and the Department of Expenditure.” The Press Information Bureau of the Government of India has also said, in its bulletin dated 07.08.2013,  

 

 “Central Health Service (CHS) Officers in Central Government are governed by the Dynamic Assured Career Progression (DACP) Scheme, which was implemented by Government of India based on the recommendations of Vth Central Pay Commission providing promotion to the CHS officers without linkage to vacancies upto the level of Chief Medical Officer – Non-Functional Selection Grade (CMO-NFSG)/ Specialist Grade I/ Professor w.e.f. 5.4.2002. The benefit of promotion under DACP Scheme was extended to Dental Officers under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare without linkage to vacancies upto the level of Staff Surgeon (Dental) (NFSG)/ Professor/ Maxillofacial Surgeon w.e.f. 25.8.2006.

 

Based on the acceptance of VIth Central Pay Commission’s the Government of India further extended the Dynamic Assured Career Progression (DACP) Scheme upto the Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) level without linkage to vacancies in respect of Medical and Dental Doctors in the Central Government, whether belonging to Organised Service or holding isolated posts w.e.f. 29.10.2008 .All Ministries/ Departments of the Central Government are required to implement the DACP Scheme accordingly in respect of Medical/ Dental Doctors under their control. This benefit of promotion upto the level of SAG without linkage to vacancies under DACP Scheme was also extended to the officers of various sub-cadres of Central Health Service (CHS) and Dental Doctors under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare w.e.f. 29.10.2008.” (http://pib.nic.in/newsite/mbErel.aspx?relid=98744)

 

The lawyer is lost in thoughts: “Unless the DACP Mechanism has been done away with, the authorities cannot deny the Assured Career Progression to his clients. They knew that and that was why they made this promise in the advertisement and in the offer of appointment to his clients in the year 2012. They knew that the earlier RR of 2009 had specified four years as the period of residency. And, yet, if the promise of DACP had been made in the year 2012, it implies that the Administration was aware of the fact that the DACP was an additional feature taking the promotional avenues beyond the provisions of the RRs”. The lawyer is not able to comprehend how the officers dealing with the case, at present, arrived at a different and strange conclusion that the RRs amended in 2014 would supersede the provisions of the DACP. How did they do it? How did they issue an order like the one dated 03.07.1017 in the case of Assistant Professors (Dental)? The lawyer is puzzled. 

Parrots

The chain of thoughts of the lawyer gets disrupted by his daughter who prods him to look at the parrots sitting on a roadside tree.  ‘Hm, that was a good case’, the ruminating lawyer throws a beaming smile at his daughter sitting near him. The kid responds with a smile too.

sparrow-flock-in-flight

She does not know that that beaming smile of her father is the outward expression of his inner joy at the erroneous notes submitted by the officials to mislead the Medical Commissioner of the Hqrs Office. She also does not know that her father wishes the officials to commit more such blunders. She is fascinated by the pandemonium of parakeets and  the flutter of sparrows flying in the sky. 

 

Parrot-flying

Images: Courtesy: net.

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Healthcare: Mr. Jaitley leads the nation to peril !

“If we continue in the direction we’re headed we’ll soon have a health insurance system dominated by two or three mammoth for-profit corporations capable of squeezing employees and consumers for all they’re worth – and handing over the profits to their shareholders and executives.

The alternative is a government-run single payer system – such as is in place in almost every other advanced economy – dedicated to lower premiums and better care.”- Robert Reich.

==================================================

“Insurers are seeking rate hikes of 20 to 40 percent for next year because they think they already have enough economic and political clout to get them.

That’s not what they’re telling federal and state regulators, of course. They say rate increases are necessary because people enrolling in Obamacare are sicker than they expected, and they’re losing money.

Remember, this an industry with rising share values and wads of cash for mergers and acquisitions. It also has enough dough to bestow huge pay packages on its top executives.

The CEOs of the five largest for-profit health insurance companies each raked in $10 to $15 million last year.

After the mergers, the biggest insurers will have even larger profits, higher share values, and fatter pay packages for their top brass.

There’s abundant evidence that when health insurers merge, premiums rise. For example, Leemore Dafny, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and his two co-authors, found that after Aetna merged with Prudential HealthCare in 1999, premiums rose 7 percent higher than had the merger not occurred.” – Robert Reich. ===================================================

In India, the problems would be worse, when private players are allowed to play a role in providing social security. The profit would not be shared with shareholders too. It would be shared with the politicians, as black money.

That is the reason the Indian politicians find it irresistible to yield to the desires of the ultra-rich and make the common public the fodder to feed those ultra rich.

We know this happening already in the Telecommunications sector. The BSNL and MTNL had the wherewithal to provide cable TV connection to all homes and provide all the channels the people wanted. But, they were not encouraged. Will these public sector organisations pay anything to the politicians overtly and covertly? What is the use of these organisations for them? But, the private players in the field rake in a lot and throw a share to the politicians in the name of party-funds, who do not want to make the source of their party funds transparent but share the booty among themselves for which they became politicians first and rulers next. One can compare the remuneration of the chief of Airtel with the chief of BSNL and find who is there for what.

Likewise one can compare the remuneration of the lowest paid clerical staff of the BSNL with his counterpart in Airtel and find who is better off. The modern CEO would ensure that wages fall and profits rise. He would ensure his voice is heard and obeyed while the voice of the employees would never be allowed even to be raised.

Privatisation helps the top man to suck the blood of the public and the subordinates to enrich himself.

These politicians who are after money-bags would not save the nation by privatising Social Security. Their thoughtless action is going to make the life of the future generations miserable.

Mr. Arun Jaitley has said in Para 62 of his Budget speech,”With respect to ESI, the employee should have the option of choosing either ESI or a Health Insurance product, recognized by the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA). We intend to bring amending legislation in this regard, afterstakeholder consultation.”. What this forebodes the nation can be seen from the problems faced by the commoners in the USA. The situation in India would become worse.

Let us,therefore, knock at the doors of Judiciary to save the nation from the hands of these greedy politicians, who had already corroded the public sector health care system by their interference and cite the same corrosion as the reason to bring in private players to spoil the nation.

For more: http://www.salon.com/2015/07/07/robert_reich_single_payer_healthcare_is_the_only_way_partner/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

As rightly analysed by Mr.Reich in some other article, modern day businessmen are not required to be brilliant. He says that the modern day corporate CEO is one “who’s rigged the rules, reaped giant personal rewards, and left communities and employees stranded.” But, the men in power to control the government and the media make the government to propagate and convince the masses that the modern day businessman is a messiah to save the mankind.

Only the awakening of the masses can save their progeny!

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Filed under Administration, Benefits, For Trainees, Medical College Bond

Beware of the Demolition Squad, Mr. Prime Minister! ESIC is the symbol of Civilisation!!

During a meeting of the ILO in the year 1922, When many other countries had introduced various social security measures the Indian Government was wavering. So one member said that among the civilised countries, India was the only country where there was no social security measure. That was an indication that the world considered social security measures as an index of civilisation. The nature of benefits provided in every country under the Social Security Scheme is the indicator of the degree of civilisation achieved by the people of that county.

When Mr. Joshi, the Indian member heard the aforesaid comment in the world body, he got provoked and said that India would bring in legislation for compensation for employment injury. The Workman’s Compensation Act, came into existence next year in 1923 only because of that promise of Mr. Joshi, the Indian representative, in that world body. That was how India took her first step to enter into the civilised world.

The Royal Commission of Labour which toured India for two years from 1929 to 1931 submitted its report stating that the incidence of sickness was more in India than in any other country and the need for sickness insurance was more in India than in any other nation.

The Beveridge Report

The Committee headed by Sir William Beveridge examined the issues pertaining to labour  for one and a half years and submitted, in November 1942, an exhaustive report which paved way for a civilised society. His report aimed at ‘shaping the economy to serve the people’, while the rich and powerful had vested interest in ‘shaping the people to serve the economy’.

Sir William Beveridge in 1944. He became hero overnight when his report was tabled in the House of Commons in December, 1942. Photo Courtesy: The Guardian, U.K.

Sir William Beveridge in 1944. He became hero overnight when his report was tabled in the House of Commons in December, 1942. Photo Courtesy: The Guardian, U.K.

ESI Corporation was not born in a day. It took more than a year and half for Prof. Adharkar to go through the report of Sir William Beveridge to adapt it to Indian conditions. Comprehensive analysis was made on the issues relevant to our nation. The report was submitted by him on 15.08.1944. Consequently, when the ESI Act was enacted in 1948, the responsibility of running the Scheme was vested in the Government.

Art. 41 insists on “Public” Assistance

The founding fathers had rightly entrusted the responsibility of running the Social Security Scheme to the Government only. That was why Art. 41 of the Constitution directs, as under:

“The State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right
◦ to ……,
◦ to …………,
◦ to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want”.
The Art. 41, thus, gives direction to the State that in cases of Sickness, disablement and in other cases of undeserved want, the State is to provide “PUBLIC ASSISTANCE” . The State cannot, therefore, make provisions for “private assistance” and wash its hands of the affairs. The responsibility for Maternity relief was placed on the shoulders of the Government only as per Art. 42.

ESIC reviewed repeatedly

The scheme was made operational in 1952. Many Committees had reviewed the ESI Scheme periodically. They were: The ESIS Review Committee (1966), the Estimates Committee of Parliament (1969-70), the Committee on Perspective Planning (1972), the High Powered Committee on Amendments to the ESI Act (1978), the ESIS Review Committee (1982), Committee on Perspective Planning (1993) and The Report of the Working Group on Social Security for the Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-2007). The meeting of this Working Group said, as under in its Minutes dated 03.07.2001:

“There is need to take new initiatives to extend the spread and reach of the existing social security schemes being administered by the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation and Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation.“

Six Principles of Beveridge

Beveridge had codified Six Principles of Social Insurance. Two among them were the element of compulsory contribution from each insured person and his employer and the “Unification of Administrative Responsibility” through a single Social Insurance Fund. The report of Prof. Adharkar also emphasised the same. The Scheme in India is run by the Government to assure the insured population and the employers that the funds would be managed as per rules, the scheme would be run corruption-free and the defaulting employers and erring employers would be penalised by the State itself. That was a guarantee to other employers and employees that there would be equality in applying law. The grievance redress mechanism under any Government would be open and transparent.

Best financial management in ESIC

The Scheme had been run in a satisfactory manner, in spite of many negative actions of the corrupts and zombies, within the organisation and in the enforcing machinery of various State Governments. If the political leaders had been more committed in the welfare of the people, the Scheme could have done much better. Even in spite of all the pitfalls, the Scheme had been better managed financially than any other public sector autonomous body until the year 2007. Better than private units. The Economic times 05.02.2003 would testify to it.

Economic Times 5 2 2003 copy

Overbearing and misguiding bureaucracy

Any dilution of the the scheme would be challengeable successfully in Court of Law and would expose the Government having fallen victims to the misleading notes of the bureaucrats. Politicians falling victims to the bureaucracy had been brought out very clearly in the famous serial ‘Yes, Minister’. Indian scenario is not different in any manner. Occasions are numerous when the elected Ministers just sign on files as desired by the bureaucrats. India has seen many bureaucrats becoming Ministers and Prime Ministers too, only because the elected politicians could neither understand nor cope with the tactics used by the bureaucrats to bend them to the will of the latter.

During the discussion in the House of the People on 23.03.1992, Mr. A. B. Vajpayee blamed that the bureaucrats were more responsible for creating economic crisis than the political leadership. His statement is one of the many evidences available to prove that the Ministers are led and are not obeyed by the bureaucrats.

The following are the excerpts from the Indian Express dated 24.03.1992:
“Mr. Vajpayee hit out at the bureaucrats, five or six of them, who kept shuttling between the Prime Minister’s office, the North Block and the Planning Commission, and also the IMF, and said they were more responsible for creating the current economic crisis than the political leadership. These officers should not be entrusted with negotiating the Dunkel proposals at the GATT meetings, he cautioned”.

Intention is only to “reduce” benefits 

Private players are free to provide any kind of benefit that matches and surpasses the ones provided under the ESI Act. There is no need for any adventurous dilution of the provisions of ESI Act. There must be proper in-depth study before embarking on any such adventures. If needed, even a pilot project can be formulated and tested. The international experience on such privatisation must be examined. The information already received by the ILO on this issue was only in the negative about such privatisation. There should, therefore, be no reliance only on the filenotings of the bureaucrats to tamper with the existing system just in order to facilitate private players in social insurance. That would result in the private players playing havoc with the living conditions of the working population.

They enter into this field to make money, to prepare profit and loss account while the ESIC as a State machinery prepares Income and Expenditure account. Any hasty measure to allow private players by diluting the provisions of Exemptions under Sec. 87-91 would, clearly, prove that the intention of the rulers is only to reduce the quantum of benefits that are made available now to the working population in the organised sector.

Customer Satisfaction Survey

The Government of Gujarat had conducted a Customer Sastisfaction Survey among the public when Mr. Narendra Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat in the early 2000s about the services rendered by various departments, as informed by Shri Hasmukh Adhia, IAS, Secretary, Administrative Reforms & training and Director General, SPIPA, Government of Gujarat, during his lecture in the Indian Institute of Managment, Ahmedabad.

Similar survey proposed in the year 2006 in the ESIC had not materialised. One such survey among the beneficiaries of the ESI Scheme would not be out of place, now, before venturing on misadventures. Gujarat Gas Company Limited conducted Customer Satisfaction Survey to understands its own strength and weaknesses.

Slide1

It was adjudged the best managed company of the year 2004-05 by the Business Today.

Slide2

Beveridge worked hard and conducted extensive study on various issues for one and a half years to prepar his monumental document and when it was made public,  he became a national hero overnight in the United Kingdom. In India, the bureaucrats do not show any intention to study the issues and impacts by conducting any study but work hard to demolish the scheme overnight.

A cursory survey had been conducted in Mumbai once in the 1990s. It showed that 85% of the employers wanted the scheme while 85% of the employers did not want it. The Regional Directors of Maharashtra would testify to it. So, any radical change in the concept and structue must be preceded, necessarily, by proper study and analysis from all angles.

ESIC can work wonders

We reiterate that as far as the ESIC is concerned the System is correct but the men need to change their attitude. That can be done, when the political leadership is committed to run the Scheme corruption-free. When done, ESIC can work wonders for the improvement of the nation’s economy and prove to the world that our nation is really a civilised nation.

What is more, India can even surpass many nations and reach the top in the Human Development Index. The Scandinavian countries top the Index at present, only because of social security measures which are run corruption-free. That is civilisation.

For more, read ‘Barbarism and Civilisation: History of Europe in our time – Bernard Wasserstein. 

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E.S.I.C’s employees and Hannibal’s soldiers !

It was 1990. A woman employee of the Bureau of Indian Standards reached the bus stop at about 7.45 am in Noida Sector 22. Her neighbour, a Section Officer of the ESIC, was standing there already, waiting for bus to go to his office. The offices of both were and are in the same locality, in New Delhi-2.

That ESIC officer, a man from Orissa, was a very sincere and punctual officer. He was very surprised to see that woman employee of the BIS at that time of the day there. He asked her where she was going. She replied that she was going to her office. That reply stumped the ESIC officer. “Madam, how come, so early? You used to move for office only at about 11 am everyday!”. That woman poured out her grievance. “What to do, Sir? One man has come to our office as DG. He is from military. Totally merciless. He is marking our absence and debiting our leave accounts everyday. How much can I lose? It is very difficult for me to go to office so early. Still, I have to go…..”. She went on justifying her priorities and scolding the new unsympathetic Director General stating that he did not understand the problem of womenfolk who had to look after all the house-hold chores.

Yes. The BIS got Lt. Gen. H. Lal, a Param Vishisht Seva Medalist, as its Director General. He studied, for a few days, the situation prevailing in the BIS and diagnosed the problem. He chalked out his own plan to bring standard to the Bureau of Indian Standards.

The PVSM with perseverance

He did not announce anything to anyone. He simply went around the office one morning, 15 minutes after the commencement of office hours, and collected all the attendance registers from every section in person. He marked the absence of everyone very coolly and sent the attendance register back. The first day there was shock, utter shock among the members on the Staff. The second day their shock continued. The third day, the Union represented, through other officers, for ignoring this ‘minor issue’. But, the military man said that it was not a minor issue. He said, “You are paid for your presence as well as work, here in this organisation. I am not asking you to work. I just ask you to be present during the working hours. There is no concession on this score”. He was very firm. He demonstrated his firmness even more when the Union chose to demonstrate its own power. He did not relent.

Attendance Registers were continued to be seen by him without any let up. He demonstrated his perseverance in a remarkable manner. By the end of the first month, the staff members realised that they could not change the attitude of their DG. They had no other option but to change their own attitude. The second and third month, they tried to change their attitude. They took steps to manage their personal affairs in such a manner that they would be on time for office. The DG pressed on with the monitoring of attendance register for a continuous period of six months. Yes, it was true. By then, it became the habit for the employees of the BIS to reach the office in time, and to remain in the office upto 5.30 pm.

It was on the first day of his seventh month in office that Mr. Lal convened a meeting of officers and staff of every section separately and reviewed the work done by them. As sitting in the office had, already, been made a habit for the officials, it naturally showed up in their performance too. A remarkable attitudinal change, made possible in every employee, because of pressure not from within but from outside – from the boss.

Mr. Lal, a PVS Medalist, redeemed the BIS, really. He brought the BIS back on track, within a period of six months.

Mr. Sahib Singh Verma’s surprise visits

When Mr. Sahib Singh Verma was the Minister for Labour, he visited the offices under his Ministry at the commencement of office hours and closed the entrance door before verifying attendance. This had a dramatic effect on the punctuality in offices in New Delhi, including the offices of the ESIC. But, that is not the case with the other offices of the ESIC in the Regions. The need not only for punctuality and but also for service with a sense of compassion, devotion and outreach is felt more in the field offices and medical institutions of the ESIC.

The incident in the BIS does, therefore, have close relevance to the offices of the ESIC.

The employees of the ESIC grumble and assemble and resolve to agitate. But, they must know that they have to rise up and fight not against the rulers but against the impression prevailing among the insured population about the nature of service provided by the officers and staff members. Because, if someone like the Finance Minister could point out fingers against the ESIC and try to convince the public that the ESIC could be dispensed with, these employees cannot just blame the Minister for it. They have to blame themselves too. That there happened many things at the top in 2009 and 2010 might be true. But, the ignorance and arrogance of many employees of the ESIC at various other levels including the lower levels of the organisation were and are also the contributing factors to create a sense of apathy and antipathy among the beneficiaries against the ESIC.

When things went wrong in the BSNL, the employees’ unions and the officers associations assumed ownership of the organisation and started questioning the decision-making process. A new sense of commitment could be seen among the employees there. But, the employees unions and the officers associations of the ESIC choose to remain indifferent, although there is more reason for them to fight for the organisation and save it from the predators.

Beveridge, needed forever

ESIC is a well-conceived concept to reach out to the masses. The need for the ESIC , the social security measures provided by it, would be felt by the society as long as the world exists. A cursory reading of the report of Sir William Beveridge would testify to this fact. That is the reason his report, a charter to protect the humanity from the pains caused by undeserved wants, is called as a monumental document. Social Security has, throughout the world, achieved successfully what Communism could not achieve.

It gives an opportunity to the employees of the ESIC to make themselves useful to the humanity. But, the imperious behaviour demonstrated by the employees, coupled with their indifference, indolence and ignorance, when approached by the beneficiaries would result in creating very serious antagonism among the public. That situation is tailor-made to make it easier for the people like Mr. Manmohan Singh and Mr. Modi to dump the ESIC and give noble impressions to their ignoble intentions to sell the nation to private players.

The employees of the ESIC stand warned. A precedent has already been created by the BJP regime by selling a government department to a rich businessman. VSNL, a profit-making body, was sold to Tatas. The rulers would, therefore, not wink an eye if the situation created by the employees of the ESIC help them to dump the ESIC in favour of private players by diluting its provisions.

If the role of ESIC in the nation-making is thus diluted, it will not be only because of the pro-rich attitude of Mr.Manmohan Singh and Mr. Modi but also because of the incorrigible attitude of many employees of the ESIC. It will be of no use to cry later without cultivating a little sense of happiness in doing real service to the people.

The Good and the Bad

There are many honest officers, sincere staff members at all levels, empathic doctors and nurses in the ESIC who provide yeoman service to the beneficiaries. But, the effect of their services pale into oblivion when contrasted with the multitude of self-seeking officials who do not care to be there in the organisation for rendering service to the public.

Yet, it becomes the duty of the honest officials also to fight against their colleagues who bring disrepute to the organisation. Because, the attitude of such blacksheep does affect, ultimately, the honest officials too. The sincere officials are required to hang their head in shame when the organisation is criticised for the wrongs committed by the mischievous.

The utterances of the Finance Minister on the day of Budget must awaken the blacksheep, at least now, to change their attitude. The honest employees of the ESIC at every level must fight against the dishonest among them with all seriousness it deserves.

ESIC employees must emulate Hannibal’s soldiers

When Hannibal had to fight his first battle with the fearsome Roman legions, multifold stronger in number, in Northern Italy, he had to bring his worn-out men alive. He told his frightened and diffident soldiers that they were many miles away from home, on hostile territory with nowhere to go. “It is either freedom or slavery; victory or death”. He advised his soldier to fight with all intensity and ferocity that they would win the mightier and stronger Roman army. Hannibal’s soldiers did so and won the Romans. (33 Strategies of War – Robert Greene).

Similar is the case today with the ESIC employees. Here is the opportunity for them to turn a new leaf and emulate the soldiers of Hannibal and work with devotion and compassion towards the beneficiaries that the beneficiaries themselves would realise the importance of the ESIC as a public organisation and resist the attempts of the rulers to dilute the beneficial provisos of the ESIC.

It is time for the ESIC employees to demonstrate their potentials. It is an opportunity for them to vindicate themselves. Will the ESIC employees sit up, take notice and rise up?

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The CAG Report: the facts we do not know!

CAG’s Audit Report on ESIC

CAG’s Performance Audit Report on ESI Corporation for the period from 2008-09 to 2012-13 has been presented to the Parliament in December 2014.

I. Some of the important observations of the CAG are:

  1. Substantial difference of Rs.556.59 crore was observed between challans generated towards contribution to be paid by the employers and actual receipts.
  2. While opening two 500 bed hospitals at Gulbarga and Mandi, the norms for existence of minimum number of insured persons were not followed and the locations were incorrectly selected.

Facts, as we know:

  • The manner in which the IT Roll-Out was rushed through without proper spade work, was the reason for the first observation.
  • The manner in which the politicians in power managed to hijack the ESI Scheme for narrow personal ends was the reason for the second observation. That the ESIC authorities could not do anything in such cases earlier too, like the locations of the hospitals at Nagda (instead of Indore) and at a village near Salem (instead of the town of Salem) shows that the ESIC had been pawn in the hands of self-serving politicians.

II. Some of the CAG’s observations based on superficial understanding are:

  1. Approximately 12000 ESIC employees had been irregularly availing medical benefits from ESIC dispensaries/hospitals without paying, though the facilities were meant for only insured persons paying contributions.
  2. Non-initiation of timely action to determine the dues resulted in cases becoming time-barred and consequent loss of revenue amounting to Rs.48.31 crore. Advances of Rs. 20.31 crore given to hospitals as of March 2013 were lying unadjusted in eight States.

Facts, as we know:

  • The conditions of service of the employees of the ESIC are similar to those of the Central Government servants drawing corresponding scales of pay, as per Sec. 17 (2) (a) of the ESI Act, 1948. In the early 1960s, the ESIC employees were getting medical facilities through ESI medical institutions but it was switched to CGHS later. The employees of the ESIC in Delhi were, in the 1980s, getting medical facilities through the CGHS. The decision to enable them to take medical facilities through ESI medical institutions was intended to replace that CGHS facility. The employees are entitled either to CGHS or the ESI facilities. The CAG did not consider these facts.
  • It is not non-initiation of timely action which resulted in the loss alleged. It was the unseemly hurry with which Sec. 45 was amended to insert the limitation clause of five years, without any steps taken by the Revenue Division of the Hqrs. to ascertain the extent of pending claims at the time of amendment. It was not just that. The amended clause was enforced with immediate effect from 01.06.2010 in a hurry, in spite of the fact that there was executive power to examine the issues in house and enforce the amendments at later dates too, as was done in the case of various amendments of the year 1989. The CAG would have done a great service to the nation, if he had examined whether any preliminary study was done and reports obtained from Regions on this issue before embarking on such amendment and before bringing it to force on 01.06.2010. The loss is a recurring phenomenon, every month now.

III. Absence of observations of the CAG on the following vital issues:

  1. Construction matters from 2008.
  2. Alienation of ESIC’s land to Municipalities for permission to construct buildings.
  3. Certifications regarding the progress in the construction of buildings.
  4. Proposal to commence the construction of buildings for medical colleges in a tearing hurry even before the ESI Act  was amended to facilitate setting up medical colleges. 

Facts, as we know:

The CAG was supposed to detect on his own. But, in this case, he was deemed to be aware of these issues. We get information that he had, specifically, been made to be aware of these issues. But, his report is silent on these issues.

Facts we do not know:

We do not know whether such silence implies that there was nothing wrong in the aforesaid four areas or whether that silence implies the attempt at the cover-up.

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Note:

(This article has been prepared with reference to the report in Outlook (http://www.outlookindia.com/news/article/CAG-Finds-Irregular-Expenditure-By-ESIC/872374)

and the contents in the website

(http://www.millenniumpost.in/NewsContent.aspx?NID=89561)

and the PDF format report available in

http://www.saiindia.gov.in/english/home/Public/In%20_Media/30of2014.pdf. )

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Sickness Benefit and Extended Sickness Benefit: The impact of Budget.

This is the second article in the series, on the announcement of the intention of the Government to free the employees from being held hostage by the Government of India itself, through ESIC. The former one is available at https://flourishingesic.info/2015/02/28/making-esi-medical-facilities-optional-abdication-of-responsibility/

The essential questions now, after the employees choose private operators for medical benefit, are “Who will provide Sickness Benefit? And, on whose certificate? And, what is the monitoring mechanism?”

Or, has the BJP chosen to do away with the Sickness Benefit altogether?

Have the officials who suggested this proposal examined all the issues of various dimensions involved in it?

The people who are farm workers are paid only for the day of actual work. If they fall sick they would not be able to go for work and will be confined to bed to take rest. There would be no income for them for those days of abstention from work. On the other hand, they would have to spend money for medical treatment during that period. That expenditure must be meted out from their savings or by borrowing.

The same was the case with industrial workers before the ESIC came on the scene. It was this kind of situation, the loss of income during certain period coupled with the necessity of incurring medical expenditure during the same period, that was sought to be answered to by the ESI Scheme. Once covered under the ESI Scheme, the employees get medical treatment and medicines from the ESI medical institutions. The period for which they are required to be on abstention from duty is decided by the medical officers of the ESIC who issue certificate to that effect. The employees get around 60-70% of their wages in cash for those periods of abstention as Sickness Benefit for a maximum of 91 days in two consecutive Benefit Periods, which is actually one full year.

Now that the overenthusiastic BJP regime has declared its intention to free the employees from being held hostages by the Government of India (as invented by Mr. Jaitely), will the BJP stalwart explain the consequences of his decision on Sickness Benefit?

Maybe, they would not want to step back for reasons of prestige. They may even declare that the private medical institutions would issue certificates, which must be honoured by the ESIC Branch Offices.

Or, they may say that there will be no Sickness Benefit at all.

Anyway, if the former is the solution given by them, another question arises. The Medical Officers of the ESIC are monitored through a system of Medical Referees of the same organisation. What will be the system to monitor the private agencies that provide treatment and issue certificate to the employees?

Extended Sickness Benefit

Moreover, what will be the fate of the celebrated and important Extended Sickness Benefit?

No certification in the UK for Cash Benefit

Significantly, there is no system of certificates being issued by the medical officers in the UK. They provide only treatment and recommend the period of leave. It is the employees who decide the period of abstention and get cash benefit for those periods from post offices. Can Mr. Jaitely usher in that era? In India, we could not bring it into force for the past 40 years, only because of the general tendency of choosing to remain on leave for the entire period of 91 days. Our society did not become that mature, at least, up to 1989.

That was the reason for the introduction of the words ‘strike’ in Sec. 63 and Sec. 97 (iv-b) of the ESI Act in the year 1989. One would be happy if the Indian society has become so mature that the Government considered it unnecessary to retain these checks and balances.

Or, another method is to make the Sickness Benefit totally unattractive, by reducing the percentage of the benefit. But, as per ILO mandate, it cannot be reduced below 45% of the wages earned.

So, the alternative is to change the beautiful, time-tested and war-withered-veteran, the Sec. 2 (22) and modify the definition of the term ‘wages’.

Wages can, hereafter, be defined as the basic pay only which may be decided only by the employer and it may even, for example, be just 10% of the total wages. So, even if the Sickness Benefit were increased to 100%, the quantum of benefit would not be attractive to the Insured Person.

No need to worry how he would sustain his family during the period of Sickness and Extended Sickness that runs into two years, i.e, 730 days. Mr. Jaitely, the Finance Minister, has now the authority to believe that such people would fend for themselves.

Adharkar was prophetic!

Pity, a Noble scheme of the Government of India has fallen, for quite some time, already, into the feeble hands of the corrupt and inept! Prof. Adharkar was prophetic. He said that the success of the ESI Scheme depended not only on the honest working of the ESI Act by all concerned. But, by introducing some more measures by the Government. He wanted that the ESI Scheme should not be “saddled with burdens legitimately belonging to other branches of social insurance”. Therefore, while formulating the ESI Scheme, he made four assumptions for its success. They are:

  • Adoption of a scheme for Unemployment Insurance and creation of new employments in the post war period,
  • Establishment of a scheme of Old Age Pension,
  • Adoption of certain pre-medical measures like education in health and improvement in environment hygiene besides regulation of wages and rigorous enforcement of factory laws and, finally,
  • National Health Drive.

While some steps had been taken in respect of items 1 and 2 during the past 60 years, the required importance has not been given to items 3 and 4. Consequently, Adharkar’s  dreams which were actually achievable and have been achieved in many countries are becoming distant dreams for Indian common people, with the present Government vying with the former one in diluting labour laws. Moreover, ESIC is blamed when it faces and suffers from the negative impact of the non-performance of the politicians on these four areas.

The root cause of all evils!

The only solution for all the problems is to compel all the political parties to make the source of funds of all these parties totally transparent. That alone will strike at the root cause of all the ills plaguing the nation in various spheres.

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