Those of you who have been contributing your one month's salary towards the Employees’ State Insurance Scheme (ESIS) may finally get its benefit.
The central Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has decided to take over the management of the hospitals run under the scheme.
The decision was taken after the state government admitted in court that it has failed to implement the scheme effectively.
It was replying to a public interest litigation filed by Bombay Small Scale Industries Association in 2000.
A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice RV More disposed of the PIL after additional government pleader PG Lad told the court that the cabinet had decided to let the central ESCI handle the scheme and hospitals in Maharashtra.
Under the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948, employees are given social security benefits in case of sickness and hospitalisation.
Both the employer and the employee have to contribute about a month's salary to insure employees, said Pradeep Havnur, advocate for the petitioner.
The money is deposited with the ESIC which disburses funds to the state government.
The state government and the ESIC, through its regional manager, have to provide the insured employee and their dependents medical benefits.
Special hospitals have been set up by the ESIC in Maharashtra but they are in a bad shape. In Mumbai, the hospitals are in Kandivli, Andheri, Mulund, Worli, Parel and outside Mumbai at Thane, Vashi, Ulhasnagar, Nashik, Aurangabad, Solapur, Pune and Nagpur.
“Although the ESIC regularly releases funds to Maharashtra, the state government has failed to utilise it for the employees,” said Havnur.
According to the 2000 petition, the ESIC had a corpus of Rs 5,764 crore.
"The government has not given any information about the funds lying with it which is meant for the ESIC hospitals," said Raksh Pal Abrol, president of the Bombay Small Scale Industries Association.
A high court-appointed committee submitted its report submitted in August saying there "are certain deficiencies in infrastructure" of the hospitals.
Lad told the court that the state submitted a draft Memorandum of Understanding to the central ESIC and the modalities would be worked out in four months.