Kerala: The Government of Kerala looks like least bothered about the ESI (Employees State Insurance) Corporation facilities for its subjects.
The ESI Scheme is an integrated measure of Social Insurance embodied in the Employees’ State Insurance Act and it is designed to accomplish the task of protecting ‘employees’ as defined in the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 against the impact of incidences of sickness, maternity, disablement and death due to employment injury and to provide medical care to insured persons and their families.
The ESI Scheme applies to factories and other establishment’s viz. Road Transport, Hotels, Restaurants, Cinemas, Newspaper, Shops, and Educational/Medical Institutions wherein ten or more persons are employed.
Surprisingly, the Kerala Government has not participated in ESI Board meetings since the last five years. Other states in the country are attending all the meetings, sans fail, and achieving all their requirements. But Kerala skips all meetings.
The fact remains Kerala suffers a lot on the ESI front. Union Labour Minister Bhupender Yadav chaired a meeting in Chandigarh the other day. But Kerala, as usual, did not turn up.
State Labour Secretaries are ex-officio members of ESI Corporation. Toms Jos, who retired a few years back, was the last Labour Secretary to represent Kerala in ESI meetings. Kerala skipped even the online meetings held during the Corona period.
Kerala is the state with the maximum number of ESI schemes. Kerala has got 12 hospitals, more than 140 dispensaries and various offices in the State. At the same time, beneficiaries, that is, hardworking employees, suffer a lack of sufficient doctors, related staff and even proper medicines.
ESI hospitals in the State still need to have the facilities available in primary health centres. Hospitals need 240 doctors, whereas the available strength is 105. The number of paramedical staff available is 201, whereas the requirement is 234. A 100-bed hospital has been allotted for Perumbavoor, an industrial area in Ernakulam District. But, the state government has not found any land for the same.
There are allegations that health insurance companies find one or another reason for not giving the total coverage after their clients get discharged from the hospital. But ESI is bliss for manual labourers. Cardiac surgery, kidney ailments, liver ailments, etc., are too expensive for poor labourers. The CPM-dominated Left Democratic Front (LDF) led by CPM supremo Pinarayi Vjyayan claim, every now and then, that theirs is a proletarian regime !!! But this is the actual scenario.