Many workers at the event raised their concerns about ESIC's medical and compensation facilities, doctors' availability/quality, not getting their ESIC cards from employers, being taken to private hospitals after their injuries instead of ESI hospitals, and inability to escalate their complaints.
Shri Deepak Joshi, ESIC Insurance Commissioner, addressed these challenges and unveiled new ESIC Interventions to improve ESIC services at Safe in India’s 4th Annual Shramik Sammelan, attended by c.1,000 injured auto-sector workers. Help us spread this message to worker community and auto-sector brands and their suppliers.
It is not well known that India's ESI scheme covers 3.10 crore IPs (Insured Persons - mostly workers) and 12+ crore beneficiaries (IP+ family members), close to 10% of the Indian population. This government-run scheme offers many benefits like medical benefits, sickness benefits, maternity benefits, disablement benefits, dependent benefits, and others - one of the best social security promise for workers in the world. However, its quality of services needs much improvement, which is why this is an area of focus for us.
Acknowledging the issues of lack of awareness among workers, challenges faced in accessing ESI services and often the lack of support from employers, Shri. Joshi informed workers about the following ESIC’s initiatives that can help them in this regard:
1.Aadhar Seeding for Seamless Access
"Aadhar seeding is a key step towards ensuring seamless access to ESIC services from any location. Once Aadhar is seeded, an IP and their family can avail of ESIC services at any ESIC hospital, even if they are away from their home state". At the event, c.500 workers seeded their Aadhaar Card at the ESI kiosk.
2. Ambulances, Doctor-appointment app and home delivery of medicines
“ESIC has recently introduced 5G ambulances, AAA+ apps for doctor-appointment booking, and home delivery of medicines through the e-Sanjeevini app, showcasing ESIC’s commitment to providing accessible and modern healthcare solutions”.
3. Promoting Preventive Healthcare - annual health checks
“Preventive healthcare is a priority at ESIC. All IPs aged 40 and above will receive annual health check-ups at their factories, emphasizing the importance of regular check-ups in preventing major diseases”.
4. Empowering through Knowledge
Shri. Joshi encouraged all workers to familiarize themselves with ESIC services, use the available online resources, and educate others in their workplaces. “The most important point is that you need to be informed. If you are informed, you can avail ESI services and also inform others.”
"In the era of smartphones, ESIC is leveraging technology to make accessing services easier for IPs. The IP portal on the ESIC website is a prime example. IPs’ mobile numbers are seeded in this portal, allowing them to check their contribution amounts, submit claims, and access a range of services conveniently. Shri. Joshi advised workers that. If their mobile number isn't linked, a simple request to their factory's owner/manager can rectify this”.
5. Complaint resolution e.g. about non-compliance by employers or ESIC services
“Workers can complain to ESIC if their employer hasn’t registered them for ESIC. Based on complaints, ESIC will conduct inspections at these factories, and if workers aren’t covered under ESI, the ESI inspectors will get the factory owners/managers to register the workers for ESI insurance.”
“Other than complaints, ESIC provides another medium to resolve issues with ESIC healthcare and compensation - Suvidha Samagams, which are held at the sub-regional office of ESIC once a month.”
A tribute to Vinay Dixit, a great friend, a champion of IIMA91 Giving Back and a staunch supporter of Safe in India Foundation.
Safe in India will now conduct worker surveys to assess the usage and quality of the above new services and provide feedback to ESIC through its periodic ‘ESIC Ki Baat, Aapke Saath’ reports.
Safe in India’s journey of helping workers with their ESIC healthcare and compensation needs and advocating for improving quality of ESIC services:
In the last seven years, we have now supported 6,000+ (mostly injured) workers in accessing ESI benefits of healthcare and compensations (Rs. 50 Cr+ now). For this, we thank our 10+ Shramik Saathis (worker volunteers) and ESIC HQ and ESIC Haryana and ESIC Maharashtra.
Injured Workers assisted by SII for their ESIC healthcare and compensation (1,500+ just in FY22-23)
Total ESIC compensation value obtained by injured workers assisted by SII. (Rs 17+ crore just in FY 22-23)
During this time period, ESIC has issued 10+ national notifications, based on our service quality improvement recommendations; more are under discussion.
Four editions of “ESIC ki Baat, Aapke Saath” were released, which is a ground-up report on worker (IP - Insured Person) experience and worker voices, which have resulted in some improvements e.g. a notification on phase-wise online submission of life certificates.
All four editions of ESIC ki Baat, Aapke Saath
SII donated advanced medical equipment for Rs. 1 Cr to ESIC Faridabad hospital for better diagnostics for workers - especially needed post-Covid19 - thanks to HDFC Bank. These machines could not be bought under extant ESIC Purchase policies. The initiative has provided us with new insights to help improve ESIC medical services.
SII also received a national award from the labor minister in 2021 for our support to ESIC during COVID-19 times.
Gang of Shramikpur is our edutainment experiment to communicate, at scale, the challenges and solutions of ESIC process around an injured worker's compensation - Post Disability Benefit - The series now has 1 lakh+ views on YouTube and our Hindi Facebook page.
We have gradually expanded our Worker Assistance from one in 2016 to 4 now, with three in Haryana and one in Maharashtra. This year, we have also expanded our assistance to workers from only injury-related to all other ESIC benefits. Masab Shamsi, Head of the Worker Assistance Centre at Safe in India, said, “This year, we've expanded our services to support injured workers beyond providing them assistance in ESIC disablement compensation, and also in accessing one particular compensation from the Labour Welfare Fund (LWF), which provides disabled workers with a substantial amount ranging from INR 1 to 1.5 lakhs.”
“ESI has some very useful services, but most workers do not have the required knowledge about them, and many do not wish to use them as they don't like dealing with the system. This can change as they learn about the value ESIC can add through its many benefits.”
-Masab Shamsi, Head Worker Assistance Centre, Safe in India Foundation
Panel of workers, ESIC and Safe in india at the event: At the event a panel was set-up, to inform workers and IPs about the initiatives of ESIC and listening to worker’s issues related to compensations.
Many of these questions were resolved by Shri. Joshi and at the ESIC stall, which was set up on the event day, resolved the workers’ grievances immediately. Many others will be followed up with ESIC.
Safe in India's service to injured workers to obtain LWF's Rs1-1.5 lakhs:
Testimonials of workers who attended the event:
We thank Shri Deepak Joshi, in particular for ESIC's message and his commitment in helping the workers and IPs for availing their just and rightful compensation from ESIC. We will now pursue actions agreed at the event with him/ESIC to resolve the issues raised by workers - both tactically for them and systemically for all IPs.
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Have a safe and healthy 2024.