Raising the wage ceiling from the existing Rs 15,000 per month will help ESIC add 50 lakh workers. The move is expected to bring in 2 crore people -- assuming a family of 4 -- under the health insurance net.
Currently, it has 2.6 crore insured workers and covers over 10 crore people. Recently, the government hiked the minimum wage for unskilled non-farm workers by 42 per cent to Rs 350 per day, from the existing Rs 246. ESIC raised its wage ceiling by 40 per cent, considering the increase in minimum wages by the government.
ESIC has not only increased the wage limit, but allowed insured persons to opt for continuing the cover even if their salary breaches the ceiling. The decisions will come into effect from October 1.
"ESIC has raised the threshold wage limit from Rs 15,000 to Rs 21,000," Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya told PTI after the board meeting of ESIC here. The labour minister is the chairman of the ESIC board.
Now, workers drawing a monthly salary of up to Rs 21,000 will be entitled to treatment during cases of sickness, maternity, disability and death due to injury during work.
At the ESIC board meeting, the organisation had proposed raising the limit to Rs 25,000 per month, but it was decided to fix the ceiling at Rs 21,000.
Earlier, a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour took the line that the wage limit should be raised in line with the rise in prices and salaries. An employer has to contribute 4.75 per cent of a worker's salary towards ESIC as contribution while for workers, it stands at 1.75 per cent.
The minister also said there is a plan to increase the wage threshold for retirement fund body EPFO subscribers and it may be considered in the next meeting of the Central Board of Trustees (CBT).
Dattatreya also launched the first phase of telemedicine services whereby ESIC Model Hospital, Basaidarapur, New Delhi, got connected with three ESI dispensaries at Rudrapur (Uttarakhand), Unnao (Uttar Pradesh) and Kathiyar (Bihar).
Under these new initiatives, ESIC has launched a pilot project of telemedicine services at 11 ESI locations in co-ordination with the Health Informatics and Electronics Division (HIED), C-DAC, Mohali, under the Digital India programme.
The launch of these services will lead to provision of specialised healthcare services to ESIC beneficiaries residing or working at different locations with limited medical specialist services.