Employees' State Insurance (abbreviated as ESI) is a self-financing social security and health insurance scheme for Indian workers. This fund is managed by the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) according to rules and regulations stipulated there in the ESI Act 1948. ESIC is an autonomous corporation by a statutory creation under Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India.
In March 1943, B. P. Adarkar was appointed by Government of India to create a report on health insurance scheme for industrial workers. The report became the basis for the Employment State Insurance (ESI) Act of 1948.The promulgation of Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 envisaged an integrated need based social insurance scheme that would protect the interest of workers in contingencies such as sickness, maternity, temporary or permanent physical disablement, death due to employment injury resulting in loss of wages or earning capacity. The Act also guarantees reasonably good medical care to workers and their immediate dependents.
Advantages of ESI:
For all employees earning 21,000 (US$330) or less per month as wages, the employer contributes 4.75 percent and employee contributes 1.75 percent, total share 6.5% percent. State government's share is 1/8th and that by central government is 7/8th. This fund is managed by the ESI Corporation (ESIC) according to rules and regulations stipulated there in the ESI Act 1948, which oversees the provision of medical and cash benefits to the employees and their family. ESI scheme is a type of social security scheme for employees in the organised sector.
The employees registered under the scheme are entitled to medical treatment for themselves and their dependents, unemployment cash benefit in certain contingencies and maternity benefit in case of women employees. In case of employment-related disablement or death, there is provision for a disablement benefit and a family pension respectively. Outpatient medical facilities are available in 1418 ESI dispensaries and through 1,678 private medical practitioners. Inpatient care is available in 145 ESI hospitals and 42 hospital annexes with a total of 19,387 beds. In addition, several state government hospitals also have beds for exclusive use of ESI Beneficiaries. Cash benefits can be availed in any of 830 ESI centres throughout India.
Recent years have seen an increasing role of information technology in ESI, with the introduction of Pehchan smart cards as a part of Project Panchdeep. In addition to insured workers, poor families eligible under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana can also avail facilities in ESI hospitals and dispensaries. ESI Corporation also runs medical, nursing and paramedical schools in some ESI hospitals across India.
Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), established by ESI Act, is an autonomous corporation under Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India. As it is a legal entity, the corporation can raise loans and take measures for discharging such loans with prior sanction of the central government and it can acquire both movable and immovable property and all incomes from the property shall vest with the corporation. The corporation can set up hospitals either independently or in collaboration with state government or other private entities, but most of the dispensaries and hospitals are run by concerned state governments.