New Delhi: Government today ruled out
privatisation of ESI hospitals while making all attempts to
modernise them and equip them with more manpower and
"Privatisation (of ESI hospitals) is not our intention. In
several states, we have programmes to upgrade the hospitals,"
Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge told the Rajya Sabha.
He was replying to a discussion on the Employees` State
Insurance (Amendement) Bill which was later passed by the
House. The Lok Sabha has already passed the bill, which seeks
to provide for medicare to unorganised sector workers,
especially those below the poverty line.
The bill, proposes that the Employees` State Insurance
Corporation (ESIC) should participate in the Rashtriya
Swasthya Bima Yojana to cover BPL workers in the unorganised
The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the bill said it
also proposed to increase the age limit of dependents from 18
to 21 years and provide for claims for accidents occurring at
work or while going to work.
The minister said the income ceiling for ESI coverage to
workers has been increased from a monthly income of Rs 10,000
to 15,000 by amending the rules on May 1.
Kharge took the opportunity to list the work done by his
ministry for the welfare of workers.
Earlier, R C Singh (CPI) said apart from Delhi and Uttar
Pradesh there are no ESI dispensaries in rest of the country.
He said ESI hospitals urgently need upgradation and
Government must fill up the huge vacancies of doctors, nurses
in these hospitals.
Mahendra Mohan (SP) said the conditions of ESI hospitals
R C Khuntia (Cong) said ESI Corporation has a corpus of Rs
19,000 crore yet workers are not getting proper treatment.
Pyari Mohapatra (BJD) and Tapan Sen (CPI-M) also
participated in the discussion.