Category Archives: Benefits

Clubbing different units together !

In the days of yore, inspections in the ESIC were programmed and conducted in such a manner that they would, really, detect concealed employment and be  beneficial to the insured persons. At that time the upper limit of wages for coverage was Rs. 1000 pm. If a factory employed 20 or more persons for wages, it became coverable under the ESI Act, even if the 19 persons received wages more than Rs. 1000. The remaining one person whose wages were 1000 or less became coverable. The intention was to ensure wider reach of the scheme.

There were many instances in which the middlemen worked hard to ‘help’ employers evade coverage. They followed variety of techniques for such evasion. One such technique that benefitted those employees was an ingenuous one that helped them evade not only the ESI Scheme but also the income tax and many other statutory provisions. That was the technique of splitting the unit and showing the single unit as various independent units owned by different persons. Usually, those ‘different’ persons happened to be  father, mother, wife, son, daughter, or other close relatives.

There would be a single premises in which 24 powerlooms would be functioning. It requires 6 persons for a single shift. There would, therefore, be 18 persons for three shifts. Besides, there would be two ‘khaandi’ machines to prepare shuttles. It required 2 persons per shift. In all there would have to be 6 persons for three shifts. In addition, the Folders, Clerks and others would carry the figure of total number of employees to 30. But, the employers would get the blue prints prepared showing that the 24 powerlooms belonged to four different owners. They would get factory licence also that way.

When the ESI Inspector visits the factory, they would claim that there were four different factories. There would also be four set of account books. But, when the account books are closely verified, one could see that the division was fake and the management and functioning of all the four units are integrated and there, really, is one one single homogenous  unit. The khaandi machines which would remain located in the area allotted only for one unit, as per the blueprint,  would supply shuttles to all the powerlooms. The motive power would be shown differently for different units, but electricity for lights for the entire factory would be supplied from only one unit. There cannot be reimbursement from other units, as it would provide clear evidence to the unlawful nature of such sharing. Finished products would be stored in a combined manner only in one room. The employees do not know the names of the other owners except the one who manages them every day and pays wages. In such cases, when the units showed functional, financial and managerial integrality, they would be clubbed together and covered under the ESI Act as a single unit.

There were lodges and restaurants in the same premises and the owners claimed that they were independent legal entities. But, the records would show that the employees of the lodge and restaurant were interchangeable and were paid the same wages that included the cash and food components. The restaurant was providing food to all the employees of the lodge but there was no reciprocal arrangement to reimburse the cost of food by the lodge. These instances would show more than the normal B2B relationship between the owner of the lodge and the owner of the hotel, who were just father and son, in real life. In such cases, the ESI Act was enforced against both of them, by clubbing both the lodge and hotel together.

There was a textile shop with a single brand name but,the premises of the establishment would show that it was a three-storey building housing three different units, one for mens wear, another for women and yet another for kids. The employers were not allowed to evade coverage under the ESI Act in such cases. All the three were clubbed together and covered as a single entity.

On the other hand, there were some major employers who opted for combined compliance in respect of ESI provisions, to facilitate their maintenance of records, in spite of the fact that each unit was employing more than 100 persons and were coverable independently.

While the present method, invented by the bureaucrats at the Centre, make the entire inspection procedure a tragicomedy leaving the inspectors (SSOs) to verify, at best, only the current compliance, it would be worth pondering over the manner in which surveys were conducted with adequate depth and different units were clubbed together to extend the security-net to the insured persons / employees of all those units.

Those employers who want to make right compliance under the ESI Act, may find it helpful to verify for themselves whether they meet the following parameters. That will help them to provide ESI Coverage to their employees by clubbing various units together under Reg. 38 of the ESI (General) Regulations, 1950. For more on this issue, please click on the following link:

Clubbing of units

There was a peanuts vendor who was employing three persons in his shop. His small shop was adjacent to that of a hotel. The hotel had, at that time, been covered as a factory and it had been complying with the provisions of the ESI Act. When the ESI Inspector visited the hotel for the purpose of inspection, he found that there were only 22 employees in the Attendance Register but the hotel owner was paying contribution for 25 persons every month. When asked, the hotel owner, the employer, clarified that the owner of the neighbouring peanut shop was paying money to him and he, in turn, was paying contribution in respect of three of his employees in the pea-nut shop. On investigation, the employees of the pea-nut shop were delinked.

That pea-nut vendor said that he had, earlier, been working in a textile mill in Maharashtra and that he knew the importance of and the benefits provided by the ESI Scheme.

 

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Dog-feed expenses: Wages u/s 2 (22) !

 

The ESI Act was enacted only with the objective of providing a variety of benefits to the working population. The provisions for inspection mentioned in the statute are, therefore, not contradictory to this objective but only to ensure and further that objective. The perception that the inspection procedure in the ESI Act is intended to harass the employers is not correct and has been orchestrated by vested interests with ulterior motive. One may recall that when the Government of the UK had brought in many labour reforms through the Factories Act 1802 (also called the “Health and Morals of Apprentices Act”, which regulated factory conditions, especially in regard to child workers in cotton and woollen mills), provisions were made to impose fine between £2 to £25 on the factory owners for violation of law. But, the Act did not yield the desired results, as it failed to include any provision for supervision to make sure the law was being followed. It was in the year 1833 that the concept of inspection was born and the sufferings of the workmen at the hands of greedy employers came to be preventable.

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But, in India, the importance of inspection is diluted again and again for the past seven years in the ESIC. Adding to the misery of the workforce is  the amendments in other labour laws and dilution in their implementation, All these have practically converted the entire labour force of India  into Slave Labour. The latest dilution in inspection of the factories and establishments, in the guise of mechanisation and centralisation, results in the sufferings of the honest and innocent workmen as the employers have come to know that they would not, in practice, face any penal action for non-payment of contribution on all items of ‘wages’ in respect of all ‘employees’. The drastic reduction in revenue that flows in, on its own, through Sec. 39 & 40 of the Act is a clear indicator of this fact. India is virtually sliding backwards to the pre-1833 era of the UK.

It is a fact that large number of employers try to avoid paying contribution in respect of “all” (as mandated by Sec. 38) the persons employed by them for wages. They resort to various methods of manipulations of their records to conceal the “employment of persons’ and “payment of wages”.

Such concealed employment can be detected only through proper inspection including Ledger Verification in a thorough manner. A simple visit by the Inspector or his going around the factory cannot help detecting such cases.

 You get only what you inspect.

Proper and in-depth inspections alone can ensure that all the coverable employees have been covered without being left out, and that contributions are paid on their behalf on all items of wages. Simply expecting that the employers would pay contribution on all items on which it is payable, just because there is a law to that effect would not work.”You don’t get what you expect. You get only what you inspect”. This is what the IAS officers are taught too.

Besides, when contribution is not paid on all items of wages, the benefits payable becomes only be a pittance and would not help sustenance of the family of the insured persons during the periods of sickness, maternity, etc.,

Sec. 45 (1) and (2) are there in the ESI Act is, therefore, intended to safeguard the benefit provisions and they are there in the Statute to protect the interest of the employees. (For more on the need for inspections: https://flourishingesic.info/2012/11/22/esic-inspection-procedure-and-its-impact-on-society/)

Voucher Verification

The most essential component of inspection is “voucher verification”. The inspectors (SSOs) of the ESIC and the officers who conduct test inspections are specially trained on this aspect, so that they can detect concealed employment and omitted wages. “The books of accounts would not be of much use without the vouchers, records, papers, etc., on the basis of which such books have been prepared” (Circular dated 27.06.1961 of the Department of Company Affairs).

Any expenditure without proper voucher is to be frowned upon. Instances are numerous when wages were hidden in a voucher pertaining to different kind of expenditure. Likewise, many employees were paid through a voucher created in the name of a single person. The inspector, therefore, goes through vouchers with adequate care and caution.

But, in the peculiar circumstances of our society, there are many instances where genuine expenditure on certain other items are booked in the ledger, without there being any supporting voucher. Such expenditure does not, actually, represent the wages paid by the employer to his employees. What should the inspecting authorities do, then? Can they treat all such voucher-less expenditure, automatically, as wages and claim contribution from the employer? Do they have discretion to ignore such vouchers in toto? Where, then, is the line that differentiates genuine or arbitrary exercise of such power of discretion?

A case of huge expenditure without vouchers

There was a hotel of repute in a prime locality in a city. A minimum of five thousand customers visit the hotel every day to take food. The inspecting authority of the ESIC was pouring through the ledger and vouchers. He found that a large chunk of money accounted for as expenditure in the ledger under a head of account without any voucher for any day. The amount was too huge to ignore. The head of the account was ‘Purchase of Vegetables’. An inspecting authority is not there just to report the expenditure to the Regional Office and believe that he has done his work. He must, being the man on the spot, make genuine efforts to collect all the relevant documents and evidences and arrive at his findings and report the details to the Regional Office for decision. What did he do, in this case?

The employer explained that as a caterer he had to buy vegetables from various vendors, both retail and wholesale, in the market early in the morning at about 3.00 am, every day, depending upon the price and quality. No vegetable vendor would give receipts for the transactions. Not every vegetable vendor is running his trade in an organised form. So, obtaining vouchers from vegetable vendors is simply impossible, practically, he said. And, what he said was true, the inspecting authority knew.

He, therefore, verified the expenditure incurred by the hotelier for purchase of Rice, Wheat, Rava and Maida. He prepared a chart comparing the total expenditure incurred for purchase of these items with the expenditure incurred for the purchase of vegetables. He went through the ledgers once again to ensure that the expenditure for purchase of vegetables had not been booked under any other head of account. He arrived at the fact the expenditure shown under the head ‘Purchase of Vegetables’ had been incurred only for purchase of vegetables although it was not supported by vouchers. He reported all these facts along with his findings that the expenditure on purchase of vegetables was not wages, although the expenditure every year on that count was very huge. His report was examined in depth at the Regional Office and the Regional Director accepted his findings. (Even if the Regional Director had differed, he cannot blame the inspecting authority for his findings. Because, the inspecting authority had given not only his findings / opinion but also all the relevant facts on which he based his opinion and had left the decision to the Regional Office. If the Inspecting authority had reported only the quantum of expenditure as per the ledger figure, he would have been guilty of non-exercise of the power vested in him and transferring his work to the Regional Office. If he had reported only his opinion that said item of expenditure was not wages, he would have made his position vulnerable, in the event of the higher authority taking a different stand. In this case, the inspecting authority had given a speaking and convincing report, the contents of which proved that the inspection had, really, been purposeful.)

Another case of huge but sporadic expenditure

There was an inspector of the ESIC, who was known among employers of the area for his sincerity, honesty and pleasing manners. (It is appropriate to mention in the context the fact that the employers do always collect information about the nature and disposition of the inspecting authorities of various departments, whenever a new incumbent assumes charge in their area). This inspector of the ESIC was conducting regular inspection of the factory of an employer who was employing around 40 employees in his factory, situated in a semi-urban area with a sufficiently large lawn and backyard with many trees all around.   The inspecting authority, while verifying the ledger, came across a head of account titled ‘Dog-feed Expenses’. He thought that the entries of expenditure under that head of account showed the cost of food and, possibly, other maintenance charges to rear the dogs in the premises of the factory. But, he found some peculiarity in the pattern of expenditure. The expenditure had not been incurred every month in a uniform pattern. There was some expenditure in a month. There was no expenditure at all next month. There was huge expenditure in the subsequent month. The inspector was puzzled.

He, therefore, asked for the vouchers. But, the clerk of the employer did not produce them. The inspector insisted on the production of those vouchers. Yet, no voucher was produced and no explanation offered. The inspector, therefore, completed the inspection otherwise and, then, wanted to meet the employer. It was around 3.00 pm, when he was ushered in to meet the employer. The inspector conveyed his findings to him. The employer was listening and was agreeing with him about the defects pointed out by the inspector.

The inspector, then, asked the employer about the expenditure shown as ‘Dog-feed expenses’. The employer said that it was not wages. But, he expressed his inability to produce vouchers for that expenditure. He was also not able to explain how and why the expenditure was sporadic and not uniform every month, if the amount was spent to feed the dogs.

The employer maintained silence. The inspector said that, because of the non-production of vouchers in spite of specific demand, all the items of expenditure under that head of account, could be presumed to be wages and contribution claimed on those omitted wages. The employer thought over for some time and said that he would pay contribution on those omitted wages. He was, still, not ready to explain what that expenditure was. The inspector said that he might have to pay interest and damages too on that expenditure. The employer said that he knew that.

The inspector recorded these facts and issued Visit Note and wound up the inspection. He did not receive the ‘cover’ repeatedly attempted to be given to him by the clerk of the employer, during the course of the day and at the time of leaving the factory. The employer was impressed as he had already heard of the reputation of that inspector. He, therefore, volunteered to walk along with the inspector to the front gate to see him off. The inspector could not see any dog anywhere in the factory precincts and asked the employer about it. The majestic-looking turbaned employer put his hand on the shoulders of the inspector, hugged him and replied, softly, with a smile, that the expenditure booked under that head of account was not the money spent to feed the real dogs. It represented the amount demanded by and paid to the officers of various departments as bribe and to the political parties as donations. That was the reason for the sporadicity of the expenditure, he said. Both of them burst into laughter.

The employer, then, asked the inspector to keep the information confidential and said that he was revealing it only to him, in appreciation of the commitment of the inspector to remain honest by choice.

If only all the employers follow suit ……

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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.

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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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Wages: The foresightful Sec. 2 (22) !

It was 1989-90. An employer, a well-known business magnate, having many business interests in many fields, had paid Rs. 10 as Attendance Bonus to his employees who attended factory on all the 26 working days in a month. The Insurance Inspector (Now, SSO) reported that the employer had not paid contribution on that amount. Notice in Form C-18 (Ad hoc) was issued in 1991-92. The amount claimed as contribution on omitted wages was around Rs. 1600/-.

The employer’s representatives attended hearing and explained their stand. They said that it was not an amount paid as per any settlement between the employees’ union and the management. It was not a bilateral decision. It was an unilateral one and could be withdrawn at any time. It was paid quarterly and not monthly. The employer was, therefore, not required to pay contribution to the ESIC on this expenditure, they said. When asked, pointedly, how the employees were made to understand that they would be paid Attendance Bonus if they had attended factory on all the 26 days, the representatives said that the management had put up a notice in the canteen to that effect, wherein it had also been mentioned that it was unilateral, that it could be withdrawn at any time and that it would be paid once in a quarter.

Final orders were issued under Sec. 45-A, after the hearing was over, determining the contribution payable. Employer’s contentions were recorded and reasons given.

It was explained in the order issued under Sec. 45-A that

  • the very fact that the employer had displayed a notice in the canteen proved that the Attendance Bonus had been paid as per specific terms of contract.
  • there was an express contract, and that it was not unilateral, because there had been clear communication of mind, the consensus ad idem, and the ingredients of offer and acceptance were there.
  • the amount was ‘payable’ every month but was postponed and paid once in three months.
  • the amount being ‘payable’ every month, this case fell within the first portion of the definition of the term wages and not within the third portion of it.

Contribution was, therefore, claimed on the entire amount. After a few months, the employer’s representative who came to the Regional Office for some other purpose, said that the CEO had ordered the issue to be challenged in the court of law.

When asked how the CEO expected to win the case, the representative said that the CEO referred the matter to court, because he was paying a standing counsel every month without getting any work done by him. He therefore, wanted to give some work to the standing counsel. The employer paid the dues later with further interest.

What are those different parts of the definition of the term ‘wages’? Wages Page 1 Another major employer did not pay contribution on Conveyance Allowance. When the ESIC asked for contribution, the employer went to court, where his stand was upheld. The judge had reasoned that the ESIC would not have claimed contribution if the employer had given season-tickets to his employees or reimbursed the expenditure. As the employees actually incurred expenditure on conveyance, it was not wages, the Court reasoned.

But, the fact was that it was not a case of reimbursement. The payment was not in kind. It was an amount paid in cash. The court had traversed the extra mile arguing that the ESIC would not have demanded contribution, if the employer had reimbursed it or had given season tickets. The court had overlooked the fact that the employer had, actually, paid in cash. This fact on record had been ignored by the court. The argument could also be that the employer could have given to his employees grocery, cloth and other domestic requirements too and then paid less contribution only on the remaining carry home pay.

What happened in this case was that our counsel had failed to bring it to the knowledge of the court the first part of the definition of the term ‘wages’ which refers to the payment in ‘cash’. When an amount is paid in cash, the liability to pay contribution arises automatically, unless exempted under the fourth part of the definition of the term ‘wages’. Because, there is no system to ensure that the employee spends a particular allowance only for that purpose.

The Act, therefore, does not lay stress on the nomenclature used by the employers to pay remuneration to his employees. ESIC is not obliged to give cognizance to the terminology used by the employer in this regard. Wages Page 2 ESIC officers would see only whether the payment fell within the parameters specified in the definition. Many such attempts at evasion to pay contribution had been resisted successfully, only because of the great definition of the term ‘wages’ under Sec. 2 (22). Otherwise, the contribution would have been very less resulting in meager amount of cash benefits to the working population, making it difficult for them to sustain themselves during the period of sickness and disability.

The term ‘wages’ had, thus, been defined in a very thoughtful and foresightful manner in the year 1948. It has withstood numerous onslaughts from various minds with fertile imagination.

Compare this with the contents of Sec. 45 AA which had been drafted very loosely and rushed through as an Amendment in the year 2010 making one wonder whether law-making process in the nation had become so ineffective and inefficient in the nation.

It is time the ESIC turned a new leaf and sent its young officers for training on Legislative Drafting conducted by the ILDR of the Ministry of Law & Justice, to prevent recurrence of such anomalous situations. Legislative drafting NB: The Note in Pdf is available in the following link:

Training Note Wages

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Sorry! No ‘hostages’ there, Mr. Finance Minister!

The following are the excerpts from the speech of the Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitely while presenting the Budget of the Government on 28.02.2015:

“61. Madam Speaker the situation with regard to the dormant Employees Provident Fund (EPF) accounts and the claim ratios of ESIs is too well known to be repeated here. It has been remarked that both EPF and ESI have hostages, rather than clients. Further, the low paid worker suffers deductions greater than the better paid workers, in percentage terms.

62With respect to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), the employee needs to be provided two options. Firstly, the employee may opt for EPF or the New Pension Scheme (NPS). Secondly, for employees below a certain threshold of monthly income, contribution to EPF should be optional, without affecting or reducing the employer’s contribution. 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, after stakeholder consultation.”

(http://www.thehindu.com/news/resources/full-text-of-budget-201516-speech/article6945026.ece)

 

We, first of all, thank Mr. Arun Jaitely that he has chosen to consult the stakeholders before making amendments to further his observations on ESI Scheme.

In regard to his proposal to allow option to the employees to choose either ESI or a Health Insurance product, recognized by the IRDA, we have already brought out the well-known fact the medical benefit provided by the ESIC is just one of the many benefits and that it has close connection with important cash benefits like Sickness Benefit, Extended Sickness Benefit and also Sickness arising out of pregnancy and Sickness arising out of Confinement, Sickness arising out of premature birth of child or miscarriage.

In the present write-up we would like to remind the Minister just one fact which might not have been brought to his notice by the overzealous bureaucrats who wanted to please him so that he could, in turn, please the private players who would be pleased if the ESIC, which affects their area of operation, is not there.

The Minister has gone on record having said that the ESIC does “have hostages, rather than clients”.

The fact is that the ESI Scheme is run by government. Mr. Arun Jaitely belongs to that Government now. And his statement implies that he is of the opinion that the Government of India does have hostages through its ESI Scheme and not clients.

But, the employers through whom and with whose  active co-operation the scheme is run, would not and cannot say that they are held hostages. The ESI Act is not a compulsory provision. Because, the employers are free to get themselves and their employees totally exempted from ESI coverage.

Sections from 87 to 91-AA deal with exemptions. If the employers are able to provide benefits which are ‘substantially similar’ or ‘superior’ to those provided by the ESI Corporation, they can, as a matter of right, demand exemption from coverage under the ESI Scheme.

It is so simple. There is a format in the ESIC offices for this purpose. There are three columns in it. The first one lists out the benefits provided by the ESI Scheme. The next column is to be filled in by the employer recording the benefits that he provides. The third column is intended to be filled by the employer wherein he would say whether, in his own assessment, the benefits provided by him are ‘substantially similar’ or ‘superior’. Let them assess themselves first that way, before coming to the Minister and saying that the ESIC is holding them and their employees hostages.

The ESIC had successfully challenged all the employers, on many an occasion, whether they were ready to provide benefits on par with those provided by the ESIC. But, none came forward.

The Private Players do not want to provide all the benefits provided by the ESIC. Their intention is not to provide ‘social security’ but to ‘earn profit and throw a portion of it to all the political parties’.

But, ESI Act is for the welfare of humanity. It has kindness in-built. The deficiencies in providing service were and are only man-made and they can be set right by committed leadership backed by the Labour Ministry committed for honesty and transparency in running the organization. “Cleaning corruption is like cleaning the stair-case. It must start from the top”. There had been many an illustrious era that the ESIC has seen in its 63 years of existence, although it had seen many dark spells too.

ESIC has the capacity and can make the nation strong economically, if it is well-run.

We, therefore, request the Hon’ble Finance Minister not to rely only upon the convenient filenoting submitted by his pliant bureaucrats without studying the 210 years-old poignant and heart-rending history behind the ESIC.

 Slide1

The Finance Minister may better advise the employers to give all kinds of cash and medical benefits to their employees in a better manner than what is provided by the ESIC and seek proper exemptions as per the existing law itself. There is no need for amendments of any kind to the ESI Act, 1948, if the advice given to him by the bureaucrats was to free the ‘hostages’. For ready reference, we provide, in the following link, a presentation on the provisions in the ESI Act, 1948 that govern Exemptions:

 Exemptions

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Run the ESIC corruption-free! Do not run down the ESIC!!

“What ideas individuals may attach to the term “Millennium” I know not; but I know that society may be formed so as to exist without crime, without poverty, with health greatly improved, with little, if any misery, and with intelligence and happiness increased a hundredfold; and no obstacle whatsoever intervenes at this moment except ignorance to prevent such a state of society from becoming universal.”

 

Robert Owen, 1.1.1816 when he opened the

Institute for the Formation of Character.

 

The ideal of all matured human beings would only be to see a society that is free from poverty, ill-health and crime so that human potential is allowed to develop in a positive manner increasing the happiness of the living beings all around. In this backdrop, the organisations that provide variety of social security measures to the humanity play a pivotal role. In the Indian context, the ESIC provides and is intended to provide an unmatched security-net to the insured population.

But, with the assumption of power by the BJP, there are many forces acting from within the ESIC and the Ministry of Labour to sabotage the noble scheme. While there can be no arguments for status quo, or to justify the status quo, the steps taken to bring changes must be to improve the social security measures and not to expose the ordinary people to money-sharks in the medical insurance sector. But, the politicians find it irresistible to yield to the moneybags. So, acton is being taken by some people in power to dilute the benefits provided by the ESIC and make it easier for the moneybags to poach into the territory of the ESIC to make money for themselves and for the politicians who yield to their pressure.

Private sharks are compelling the persons in power to introduce exemption clause for pre-existing diseases in the ESI Act too so that they can loot the common people easily.

Are the politicians in power going to yield? Will the bureaucrats sit up, take notice of the evil designs of those private sharks and stand up agains the politicians who work for the welfare of those sharks?

Politicians and Bureaucrats nexus

The simple question is that what is better for the well-being of the humanity must be allowed and encouraged to prevail. And that decision should not be left to a few ministers and bureaucrats only. There must be proper discussion beforehand with all the stakeholders. Our experience shows that the MPs who were required to analyse the issues deep had abdicated their responsibility when the Amendments to the ESI Act were brought in, in the year 2009 / 2010. They did not, simply, care. They did not want to know. The Ministry of Law had behaved in a peculiar manner by clearing the proposal for large scale amendments with scanty analysis. The Parliamentary Standing Committee of Labour had allowed itself to be hoodwinked by the bureacrats. What is more, the CAG who comes in after everything is over has also not done his work properly, when he presented his report of 2014. He did not probe into the construction matters.

Private players are welcome even now

There is no law which denies private players enter into the field of Social Security even now. Already, in the year 1980 itself, the NIIC started certain schemes to introduce PTDB, PPDB, etc., Even they wanted to be housed near ESIC office in Maharashtra so that they could canvass the insured persons covered under the ESI Act. But, they could not find their attempts attractive.

When we talk of privatisation of social security, we must, first of all, know whether it is a service or business.

  1. If this is considered as service, the private players have, practically, no role in it.
  2. If it is considered as a business, there is no need for any new legislation to permit or prevent them.

Corruption of private players in Life Insurance Sector

LIC was not brought into existence, in the year 1956, to do business. It was brought into existence to prevent the private players from continuing with their malpractices. The main intention of nationalisation was to provide “Complete security to policyholders” and to “Conduct the business with the utmost economy and with the full realization that the money belonged to the policyholders.” Because, the mismanagement and malpractice by the private players “had lead to liquidation of as many as 25 life insurance companies in the decade after independence. Another 25 insurance companies had during the same period so frittered away their resources that their business had to be transferred to other companies. All these cost financial losses and consequent suffering to several policyholders who had entrusted their hard earned saving to the care of the company management. This misuse of power, position and privilege by these companies in the private sector was one of the most compelling reasons that influenced the decision of the government of India to nationalize the life insurance industry in 1956.”

Our experience with private corporate service providers

 The issue is whether we have any intention to learn anything from history, both past and contemporary. The ESI Corporation is meant to provide security-net to the lower strata of the society.

Private Bus transports

What is the experience of the common people with the long distance private bus transporters? Do they have any intention to serve villages? Do they not concentrate only on connecting cities?

Even within Delhi, do we not find that. It is left only to the public sector DTC to ply buses during the off-peak hours in the early mornings and nights, while the peak hour is the only preferred hour for private operators?

Private telecom service providers

It was only for the purpose of favouring the private players in the mobile telephony segment, the BSNL was not allowed to enter into that area for long. It was the strident fight of the employees that enabled the BSNL to enter into Mobile market. What is our experience with the BSNL and the private telecom service providers? What is our experience with the grievance redressal system of the private service providers who are invisible when you want to talk to them? One-sided phone calls which can ask you for money and other details but you cannot talk back. Once you complain to somebody, even if you talk back after one minute, you will talk to somebody else and not the same person. They choose to remain invisible when receiving complaints. There is no scope for meeting any person who has some authority at least to deal with the issue. But, you have RTI weapon when it comes to BSNL.

RTI only for BSNL and not for other private players

Is there any private telephone service provider who is governed by the provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005? (More on the role of politicians and top level bureaucrats to corrode the BSNL from within can be seen in the article: https://flourishingesic.info/2013/09/30/when-the-bsnl-employees-lost-their-ltc/ )

Private Hospitals vis-a-vis Leprosy and TB

How many private corporate hospitals treat patients suffering from T.B or Leprosy?

ESI Corporation can honestly throw a challenge to the private operators, if need be. No private corporate player can afford to provide the cash benefits that are extended by the ESIC. Moreover, the proprietary interests of the private players and the resultant harassment faced by the working population are on record as could be seen from the “Oxford Book of Legal Anecdotes – Michael Gilbert”. No common man in India can afford to fight against such injustices inflicted by the private operators. ESIC is kindness inbuilt. This is a public trust with no proprietary interest. If the ESIC is allowed to co-exist with the private players, if anybody’s ideology necessitates allowing such private players, it can be proved within a short time that nobody can surpass ESIC then too.

Social Security and the USA

Franklin D Roosevelt, in his message to the Congress in 1934, felt that the first objective of any nation would be the security of its men, women and children. That this security is provided mainly through the Social Security measures implies that the governments have the primary role in providing that security and it cannot be subjected to the commercial interests. Franklin D. Roosevelt said, while signing the Social Security Act, on 14th August, 1935, that Act was, “in short, a law that will take care of human needs and at the same time provide the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness.”

“The threat to stability of Social Security has been apparent for decades. For years, political leaders have agreed that something must be done… We can postpone action no longer. Social Security is a challenge now; if we fail to act, it will become a crisis. We must save Social Security and now have the opportunity to do so.” – President George W. Bush – May 2, 2001.

 

In India, the Centre has not so far given any amount as Grant to the ESIC. The experience of Peru, the only country that ventured to privatise social security was not an example to be emulated but a warning. “Some of the PAYG (Pay As You Go) systems distribute their benefits very inequitably. Since most Latin American countries rely or relied heavily on indirect taxation to subsidize social security benefits, the poor contribute disproportionately to services they probably will never receive.” (Partial) Privatization Social Security: The Chilean Model – A Lesson to Follow?Roland Eisen.

The scheme must be run only by government so that there is a larger base

 The ESI Scheme in India which collects only 1.75% of wages as Employees Contribution is still viable for almost 6 decades without any assistance from Central Government, only because it is compulsory and also because the field of dispersal of benefit load is larger. This is in sharp contrast to the position obtaining in smaller countries where the employees contribution is much more, ranging from 27 in Germany to 69-73% in Scandinavian countries.

 Corruption is the main problem in India

Maintenance of toilets in bus stands has been privatised for long. What is our experience with those toilets under private managements? Can the officials in charge have any control over their activities of these private players, who are the source of ill-gotten money for the politicians. People suffer in silence every day in every bus stand, only because of corruption, both political and bureaucratic. Our nation must demonstrate that it could do, at least, smaller things efficiently in a corruption-free manner.

If the persons in power can ensure a corruption free society, then social security provided by the ESIC need not be privatised.

If they cannot put in place a corruption free society, then social security provided by the ESIC should not be privatised.

Non provision of Primary Care is a real threat

Non-attention to Primary Care in the nation is a real threat to the ESIC in providing even Primary Healthcare. Health services in India are provided through a three-tier setup namely primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary care is the healthcare provided at the primary level of care, which is the first level of contact of the community with the health system. Cases which are more complex and need specialised care are referred to the secondary (District hospital) and tertiary level (Regional and national hospitals).

Primary Health Care was accepted as the best approach to achieve the goal of ‘Health For All’ in the Conference of the World Health Organisation held at Alma Ata in 1978. ‘Health For All’ is defined as an attainment of a level of health that will enable individuals to lead a socially and economically productive life. ‘Health For All’ was envisioned to be attained in the year 2000.

The fundamental focus of this approach is on universality, comprehensiveness and equity in health. There is an intricately intertwined relationship between Primary Care to be provided to all and the Primary Healthcare to be provided by the ESI Corporation to the persons covered under the ESI Act. Non-observance of the medical requirements by the poor affects the rich directly in the long run. It is, therefore, in the self-interest of the rich to care for the poor.

For the success of the ESI Scheme, Prof B. P. Adarkar wanted the certain extra measures to be taken. His stand was that the ESI Scheme should not be “saddled with burdens legitimately belonging to other branches of social insurance”. He made four assumptions for the success of the ESI Scheme. They were

(a) the adoption of a scheme for Unemployment Insurance and creation of new employments in the post war period,

(b) the establishment of a scheme of Old Age Pension,

(c) the 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

(d) a National Health Drive.

So, it is in the interest of the ESIC also to influence the Governments at the Centre and in the States for a National Health Drive to focus attention on Primary Care.

The political costs of inequality are recognized and accepted as being too high. The economic costs of fighting the effects are also high. Citing some research, the BBC also noted that for each dollar spent on poverty causes, seven dollars were saved on consequences.”

Success:

 The intention of the government must be to ensure proper medical care to the public through public sector.

 

Paul Krugman

The present attempts at weakening the ESIC and diluting its benefits with the aim of enabling the private players to poach into the territory of the ESIC is anti-common man. The ESI Scheme can ensure tremendous success, if only there is intense desire to run the scheme corruption-free.

 

 

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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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Making ESI Medical facilities optional: Abdication of responsibility!

 

It is said that the Government of India is going to make the ESI Medical facilities optional. It is also said that the employees would be given option to choose medical insurance of private operators.

First of all, ESIC does not provide medical facilities only. Medical Benefit is just one of the five major benefits provided by the Government of India to the working population through the ESIC. The other four are cash benefits provided in the contingencies of sickness, maternity, disablement and in the event of fatal accidents. No private player can ever match the benefits provided by the Government through the ESIC. It is not necessary for one to cudgel one’s brains to go through the monumental document of Sir William Beveridge, and the passionate report of the compassionate Prof. Adharkar to understand how and why it must be the duty of the Government of India to provide these benefits to the working population.

Even The Hindu conceded editorially on 01.01.2005 that “The package (of benefits provided by the ESIC) can rarely be matched by private employers on their own because of the heavy costs involved – not to mention the disinclination among employers, with honorable exceptions, to operate health care systems for their workforce”

It is the Government, which runs the ESIC. As far as the medical benefit is concerned, the Government can run the hospitals and dispensaries very well. It can control corruption, if it wants to. But, the political parties that came to power successively were not interested in proper running of the administration. They wanted to have the power of transfer of the officers of the ESIC, for mala fide reasons. The financial strength of the organisation, appreciated by the Economic Times in 2003 was weakened deliberately and more than Rs. 15000 crores of ESIC funds frittered away for questionable purposes.

ESI Scheme is the backbone of the nation’s economy. Just like the backbone, it remains invisible. So, the sensation seeking media – even major media – did not care what was going on in the ESIC when so many things went awry.

BJP is definitely leading the country in the wrong direction. We have to learn from USA and Cuba about the provision of medical benefits to the people of the nation. US is a warning and Cuba is  an example. Poor in USA go to Cuba for treatment. (Of course, not only those employed in factories but others as well).

Whatever be the ‘ism’s they are calling, nothing could succeed in India or any nation, for that purpose, unless corruption is controlled. And, corruption can, really, be controlled.

Making the source of finance for every political party transparent is the first step to eradicate corruption. Unless BJP comes forward to enact appropriate law for this purpose, they cannot make the people believe they are the saviours of the people. Because, as things stand, the political parties collect money from corporates and the people in that party share that money among themselves. Funny, these people quote scriptures in public, to the public.

 

When Tony Blair laid down office as the Prime Minister of the UK, his personal worry was how to settle his personal loans. In India, no councillor of Municipality would remain a debtor after a single tenure in office as councillor. What to talk of Ministers who are fond of aristocratic life style!

ESI medical benefits are supposed to be really qualitative. The pharmacopeia is of WHO standards. Still, it is the unwillingness and greed of the politicians in power and the corrupt motive of the officials, which prevent the ESI medical institutions from reaching greater heights.

Mediclaim policies of private institutions are not the panacea for it. There are many other practical problems posed by the latest decision of the Government, which wants to abdicate its responsibility on this score. They will be dealt with later, in public interest.

An article underscoring the importance of this social security scheme is uploaded in the following link, for those who would like to know the history behind the scheme.

Click  for Articles here.

Sickness Benefit?

Now, more than anything else:

Who will provide Sickness Benefit? And, on whose certificate? Has the BJP chosen to away with the Sickness Benefit altogether? Has it examined the issues involved in it? Pity indeed!

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Mr. O. Abdul Hameed, former A.C, on ESIC Medical Colleges!

(Mr. O.A. Hameed, former Additional Commissioner of the ESI Corporation, has written the following in the Facebook, which is reproduced here for the benefit of the readers)

“After seeing ESIS from within the organisation at several level and at several States including its Corporate HQ and then from Industry in two States and one UT, I feel ESIS scheme has utterly failed in its primary goal. For me the primary goal is to provide satisfactory medical care with greatest emphasis on primary medical care through the dispensaries. Why do I say primary medical care is much more important ? The object of the scheme is to to prevent absenteeism due to sickness by keeping workers healthy, and by keeping their dependent healthy and in case of illness, to ensure that they are cured as early as possible, so that they can join back the economic activity and contribute to their own need-satisfaction as also the national production and productivity. Primary medical care is also the most accessed benefit unlike cash compensation since every one in family need to go to a doctor for small to major ailment and while wast majority go to primary medical centers, those needing super-specialty would be a fraction. If you take a group of 1000 IPs/family member during a period of one year, we may find that at least 900 would need to go to a doctor at least once during the year, whereas not more than 5 would need super-specialty care. It is in the Primary care role, ESIC failed miserably, by asking the contributing person to go to State Government, while enforcing contribution! Panel system in major state provide no medical care at all, just leave certification and primary medical cares dispensaries in most state is very poorly managed. ESIC has been taking the stand that medical care is responsibility of State and it is difficult for them to take over. When ESIC can not run primary care dispensaries, providing basic infrastructure and personnel, they are now embarking on very expensive step of medical education by setting up over 15 medical colleges besides PG centers, nursing colleges, para-medical colleges etc. It is like, if you can’t provide dal-roti, provide chocolate cake and to do that set up several air conditioned cake factory!”

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But, things had, long back, gone beyond the stage of consideration of this valuable advice. So many projects running into hundreds of crores of rupees were sanctioned, in the year 2008-09 itself, for construction of buildings for the Medical Colleges, even before the Parliament passed Amendment Bill in the year 2010.

Event that Amendment came into existence by deceiving the Parliamentary Committee. Ministry of Law did not want to go into the merits of the issues raised by Mr. A. Veerappan. Herculean attempts made by him to convince the Members of Parliament met with improper response by those members. Only a few workers unions in Chennai and Banagaluru raised voice of protest. Parliamentary approval was managed on the last day of the session. For more on them, click on these links. (https://flourishingesic.info/2012/10/11/prof-adarkar-and-esic-medical-colleges/) & (https://flourishingesic.info/2012/09/13/no-time-to-read-so-esic-got-medical-colleges/)

Now, there are buildings but no medical colleges, Ayanavaram being the best example. Land had been alienated to CMDA too, unnecessarily without any authority. (https://flourishingesic.info/2013/02/21/executive-powers-of-the-chairman-standing-committee-of-esic/)

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A reader from London has sent an email which describes the situation very appropriately, with precedents. Excerpts:

“… I am reminded of the 3rd Law of ‘The 48 Laws of Power’, written by American strategist Robert Greene and the said 3rd Law is reproduced under:

“Conceal your intentions. Keep people off balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions. If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defines. Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelop them in enough smoke, and by the time they realise your intentions, it will be too late.”

I am sure that you will agree that the above law holds good on all the issues raised by you in your write-ups, as the real intention of the powers-that-be behind such reckless actions are indeed malafide, but camouflaged to hoodwink the gullible public….Now coming to the yet another issue of manifest misuse of administrative powers and total lack of accountability …. of such powers-that–be, but conveniently forgotten with the passage of time, as the public memory is too short, as the adage goes.  … give a thought on the so called ‘Census’, futile exercise undertaken in all Regions, ordered at gun point, in the year 2007, involving considerable expenses at the cost of stake holders’ hard earned money, but with no useful result to the organisation. …”

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Readers may please go through the Comments below as they contain important information.

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Theory & Procedure on ‘Employment Injury’ – A Presentation!

A powerpoint Presentation on the theory and procedure pertaining to Employment Injury is given below. Hope readers will find it useful.

Employment Injury

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