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Few takers for ESI scheme

WORKERS EMPLOYED with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Uttar Pradesh are increasingly opting for private medical care instead of availing benefits under the Centrally-sponsored Employee State Insurance (ESI) scheme.

india Updated: Sep 10, 2006 10:47 IST

Workers opting for private care

WORKERS EMPLOYED with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Uttar Pradesh are increasingly opting for private medical care instead of availing benefits under the Centrally-sponsored Employee State Insurance (ESI) scheme.

Worried over the rising private medical care costs borne by the SMEs for their employees, the Indian Industries Association (IIA) faxed a letter to SD Xavier, Under Secretary in the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment, New Delhi, on September 4 this year while commenting: “The ESI scheme appears to be useful only “theoretically.” The scheme had miserably flopped in a majority of ESI locations in Uttar Pradesh. The hospitals and dispensaries run under the ESI scheme are not only insufficient in numbers but are also situated in regions where employee access is not very convenient to avail the facilities”.

The ultimate outcome of the ESI scheme had been that the hard-earned money of both the employees and employers was being wasted on facilities lacking proper medical equipment and staff to treat patients in the state, it stated.

“Uttar Pradesh desperately needs new ESI hospitals and dispensaries with their locations near industrial zones. If that was not possible, the government could reach an agreement with the private hospitals across the state for enabling employees with ESI cards to get treated without having to locate an ESI hospital in case of an emergency in a town or a city”, IIA Executive Director D S Verma said.

He said the majority of the existing ESI hospitals in Uttar Pradesh were grossly understaffed where proper treatment of the patients could not be expected.

Right now, most of the employees of industrial units were compelled to visit private practitioners or hospitals for treatment in UP, Verma added.