ROURKELA: The industrial belts of Sundargarh and adjacent districts are facing a double whammy. While industrial recession has caused a drop in employment, laxity in enforcement to force employers to cover employees under the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) is reducing the number of Insured Persons (IPs). As a result, the ESIC is citing inadequate number of IPs in these parts of Odisha as the reason behind not taking up major healthcare infrastructure projects.
Working president of Odisha unit of Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) and member of ESIC’s Regional Board Bidyadhar Barik, quoting ESIC, claimed that the State has 3.99 lakh insured persons under the social security scheme.
While Bhubaneswar hub comprising industries in a radius of 200 km has about three lakh insured persons, Rourkela hub with 200 km radius has around one lakh IPs, he said.
Barik said although the figure is disputable, there is every need to push for registering all eligible workers as insured persons under ESIC. If proper investigation and enforcement are made, then the number of IPs under Rourkela hub would rise by another one lakh, he added.
Even after introduction of online registration of IPs, both public and private sector industries and mining companies are showing less number of employees. The same scenario prevails in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), construction agencies, quarries, shops, commercial establishments, medical and educational institutions, Barik said.
Under ESIC guideline, each employee has to contribute 1.75 per cent of his wage while the employer’s contribution is 4.75 per cent.
He accused different agencies of the State Government of failing to take errant employers to task. Barik said with drop in number of IPs, Rourkela is losing out on several medical benefits under ESIC.
As per the decision of the Centre to set up a super speciality hospital of ESIC at the State Capital, the Government had in March recommended setting up of a 500-bed super speciality hospital near Bhubaneswar in place of ESIC’s earlier proposal of Medical College and Hospital (MCH).
As per the minutes of the 76th Regional Board meeting of ESIC, Steel and Mines Minister and Regional Board chairman Prafulla Mallik, replying to a suggestion of Barik, had said the construction of another super speciality hospital at Rourkela can be taken up later.