CITU general secretary and parliamentarian Tapan Sen has written to Union Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Gangwar, seeking his intervention to stop the proposed reorganisation of the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) through merger of sub-regional offices in different states.
In a letter on November 30, Sen said that such a move would lead to “immense and unmanageable difficulties for insured persons to have their lawful benefit denied by lower-level offices/establishments”.
It is surprising that the ESIC management has proposed to shut 18 of the 39 sub-regional offices (SROs). “I believe, at the present juncture following the expansion of ESIC network, this present 39 SROs will not be adequate to manage their mandated responsibilities. Annual Report of ESIC reflect that following expansion of coverage (both geographical and growth of establishment), the number of covered employees has gone up from 189.21 lakhs to 293.21 lakhs between 2016 and 2017…In such a situation, it is difficult to even understand as to how such a decision to prune the number of SROs can even be conceived of,” he wrote.
“Further, shifting/merger of SROs to 200/300 kms away from its existing location will not lead to efficient management and extension of benefits to insured persons and their families; but it will surely contribute towards growth of reserve fund (which has grown from Rs 36,868.38 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 55,181.19 crore in 2016-17). I think, that is not the mandate of ESIC,” the Rajya Sabha member said. “I request you to kindly appreciate the gravity of the issue and urgently intervene so that the odd as well as negative move of the ESIC management towards squeezing the establishment is stalled forthwith,” Sen said.