Govt to provide medical coverage, other benefits under Employees State Insurance scheme

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In a move aimed at providing social security cover to millions of casual and contractual workers employed with municipal corporations and councils across India, the labour ministry has said it will provide them medical coverage and other benefits under the Employees State Insurance scheme.

The central labour ministry has directed the ESI Corporation to take up the matter with the states and union territories for issue of notification for coverage of casual and contractual workers in the municipal corporation and municipal council in their respective jurisdictions.

Once notifications for ESI coverage are issued by the respective states/ UTs, the casual and contractual workers working with municipal bodies will be able to avail the full gamut of benefits available under the ESI Act such as sickness benefit, maternity benefit, disablement benefit, dependent’s benefit, funeral expenses etc.

“In addition and importantly, these workers will be eligible to avail medical services through a vast network of ESI facilities which includes 160 hospitals and over 1500 dispensaries all over the country,” the labour ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

However, the coverage shall be extended to those casual and contractual employees, agencies and establishments which are within the implemented areas already notified under the ESI Act, 1948 by the central government.

According to the statement, various municipal bodies in different states and union territories in the country employ a large number of casual and contractual workers. However, not being regular employees of the municipal corporations and municipal councils, these workers remain out of the social security net making them a vulnerable lot.

“ESI coverage of casual and contractual employees working with municipal bodies shall go a long way in providing social security cover to a very vulnerable segment of the workforce. This shall contribute to social upliftment of this segment of workforce and their families,” labour minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar said in the statement.

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