In a recent interview, Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Regional Director J&K region M.K Arya who took over in this region in June 2016 said that lot of work is being done at present in ESIC across the country in general and J&K region in particular and Jammu and Kashmir is amongst the first few states in the country where ESIC Scheme from 8 districts as on 1st August 2016 has been expanded to all 22 districts as on 1st April 2017 within less than 1 year. The scheme is extended to manufacturing establishments and the variety of other non manufacturing establishments such as shops, hotels, preview theatres, newspaper establishments, road, motor and many more, he added.
Here are the complete details of Interview of Regional Director of Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) M.K Arya.
Question: Sir, Please tell us Something about ESIC.
Answer: ESIC is a premier Social Security Organization of Government of India under Ministry of Labour & Employment which provides Social Security cover to its around 2.20 crore Insured Persons in organized sector employed with approximately 8 lakh employers across the country by way of providing cash and medical benefits such as Temporary Disability Benefits, Disablement Benefit, Maternity Benefit, Sickness Benefit, Dependent Benefit besides medical benefits including a host of medical treatments. The ESI Scheme was first implemented in this State w.e.f. 16.10.1989 with about 7000 workers and 3 centers viz. Jammu, Kahua and Srinagar. The ESI Scheme further got extension and expansion in the entire geographical area of 08 districts, namely Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi, Udhampur of Jammu Division and Srinagar, Pulwama and Budgam of Kashmir Division wef 01.08.2016. And further from 01.04.2017 the Scheme has been implemented in the municipal areas (District Headquarters) of remaining 14 Districts, namely Rajouri, Poonch, Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban of Jammu Division and Anantnag, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kulgam, Shopian of kashmir Division and Leh and Kargil of Ladakh Division.
Question: What is the rate of contribution under the ESI Scheme?
Answer: The rate of contribution as on date is as under:
Employers Contribution- 4.75% of wages of an employee;
Employee Contribution- 1.75% of wages of an employee;
However, for the newly implemented areas the rate of contribution for
First two years from the date of implementation is as under;
Employer Contribution 3% of the wages of employee;
Employee Contribution 1% of the wages of employee.
Question: What is the coverage of the Scheme country wide? Does it have a pan Indian presence as on date?
Answer: As on date the ESI Scheme is implemented in 33 States/Union Territories in the country. Total no. of employers registered under the act is around 08 lakh and the total no. of Insured Persons is around 2.2 crore. There are 61 Regional/Sub-Regional/Divisional/Camp Office across the country with 650 Branch Offices, more than 1500 dispensaries and 151 hospitals to cater to the Social Security needs of our stake holders.
Question: What type of industry/establishments are coverable under the ESI Act?
Answer: The Scheme is extended to manufacturing establishments and a variety of other non manufacturing establishments like, Shops, Hotels, Preview Theaters, Newspaper Establishments, Road Motor Transport Undertakings, Educational Institutions, Private Medical Institutions employing 10 or more persons at one point of time.
Question: What is the benefit delivery system under the ESI Scheme in the state of J&K ?
Answer: Cash benefit to the insured persons and their dependents is provided through three Branch Offices at Jammu, Kathua, Srinagar and three Pay Offices at Udhampur, Samba and Katra. Medical benefit is provided through a 50 bedded ESI Model Hospital at Bari Brahmana, Samba district and 09 ESI Dispensaries, 04 in Srinagar, 02 in Kathua and 03 in Jammu.
In rest of the places medical benefit is provided through Insured Medical Practitioners. Further tie up arrangement for secondary care and super specialty treatment has been made with a number of nursing home/hospitals in the Region.
Question: What is SPREE, Please tell in detail ?
Answer. SPREE – “Scheme to Promote the Registration of Employers and Employees” is one time amnesty scheme brought by ESIC to encourage employers to get registered with ESIC and also to get registered their employees registered so that benefits of ESIC could be extended to the workers. This exempts employers from paying past contribution and related interests and damages.
Question: What are the salient feature of the Scheme SPREE?
Answer: The salient features of the scheme are as under:-
The employers registering during the period will be treated as covered from the date of registration or as declared by them. The newly registered employees shall be treated as covered from the date of their registration. This will not have any bearing on actions taken/required under ESIC act, if any, prior to 20th Dec 2016.
Question: What is the time duration given for this Scheme?
Answer: Initially SPREE was launched for around 3 and half months only starting 20/12/2016 ending 31/03/2017. But on persistent demand from employers and employee associations it has been extended upto 30/06/2017.
Question: What, if any, employer fails to get registered itself by 30/06/2017?
Answer: In that case normal process of enforcement is to be adopted which means whenever employer is registered records of 5 years prior to registration is to be checked and contribution calculated with retrospective effect and penalty under heads interests and damages is required to be charged as per the provisions of the ESI Act. Moreover other statutory actions may also get initiated.
Question: What steps ESIC in J&K is taking to promote/ spread information about scheme among employers/employees?
Answer: To promote SPREE scheme advertisements are being published in newspapers regularly. We conducted various seminars across the state of J&K. We intended to continue our efforts to conduct more seminars and awareness camps with employers and employees.
Question: Sir, tell us something about has how IPs can get their Aadhar Crds verified for purpose of availing medical benefits?
Answer: Aadhar verification can be done in following steps:-
Insured Persons (IPs) may get themselves and their dependent family members aadhar number mapped to their insurance number and get it verified on their registered mobile number through one time password.
Alternatively they can get their and their dependents aadhar number mapped to Insurance numbers, get a temporary identity card printed, photo pasted on temporary identity card and stamped by employer. After that IPs and their dependent family members with their aadhar cards, can visit any ESIC Office which has aadhar verification machine installed and get it verified.
Question: What are the future plans of the ESI Corporation regarding the State of J&K?
Answer: J&K is amongst the first states in the country where the ESI Scheme has been implemented in all its 22 districts.
It is also amongst the first few states in the country where an autonomous body at the State level to function as Subsidiary ESI Corporation has been approved to be formed for better and efficient administration of Medical Benefit in the State for the benefit of Insured Persons and their families. In addition to above the ESI Corporation plans to open 03 District Offices and 09 Branch Offices at following places in the State in future:
Udhampur (Already started functioning partially).