Skip to main content

Gujarat's poorly equipped, managed ESI hospitals would be "hugely burdened" with new Govt of India proposal

Outside ESI hospital in Naroda, Ahmedabad
By Our Representative
Vyavsayik Svashthya Suraksha Mandal (VSSM), the apex body of NGOs working on occupational health issues in Gujarat, has taken strong objection to the Government of India seeking to raise the cut off salary for receiving Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) health facility from Rs.15,000 to Rs.21,000, saying this would put huge burden on ESI hospitals, which are already in poor state.
In a strongly-worded letter to the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India, VSSM’s Jagdish Patel has said that this would mean that the total number of those enrolled in ESI would go up from 2.5 crore across the country to 10 crore, suggesting how the state-sponsored ESI hospitals would be burdened.
Referring to the draft notification of the Employees’ State Insurance (Central) Amendment Rules, 2016, dated October 6, 2016, Patel says, “In most cases the services rendered by the ESI scheme in various states is too poor”, adding, the situation would become precarious, as it is the responsibility of state governments to provide ESI medical benefits.
“ESI schemes do not run adequate dispensaries”, says Patel, adding, “For these 9.67 lakh insured persons (IPs) enrolled in Gujarat and their family members (around 40 lakh in total) there are 103 dispensaries which come to 9388 IPs per dispensary.”
“As per ESI Act & Rules, for every 5,000 IPs there should be one dispensary”, says Patel, adding, this would mean, in Gujarat, “100 more dispensaries need to be opened to provide services promised by law.”
“Existing dispensaries, in most cases are run in rental buildings which are of poor quality, many are situated on first floor which are difficult to access by children, pregnant women, old people, sick patients visiting dispensary, injured workers and their family members and differently able persons”, says Patel.
“Dispensaries have large vacancies of medical officers, nurses, pharmacists, clerks and other staff which affect the services”, Patel points out, adding, “At present 40% of sanctioned posts of medical officers are vacant” which “should be filled immediately.”
Things become worse because the state government applied “austerity measures like 20% cut in new appointments which badly affect services”, forgetting that “IPs pay insurance premium and they have to be given the services assured in the Act.”
Referring to how CAG Report referred to ESI hospitals in Gujarat having “deficient management of hospitals and dispensaries” resulting in “under-utilisation of beds, idling of equipment, injudicious purchase of medicines and procurement of sub-standard drugs”, Patel says, “On and off experts like orthopedic, psychiatrists, physiotherapist, gynecologist, radiologists etc. are not available at all or for part time only.”
“Patients are routinely referred to general hospitals which are always crowded”, Patel says, adding, “Patients are not referred to the tied-up private hospitals when required.”
Given this framework, says Patel, there is no justification for the proposed amendment. “Citizens do not know how many more workers would be covered or affected as a result of this change, what will be estimated income the corporation by way of contribution from employers and employees, burden over the services and how that will be dealt with by the state health departments.”
“ESI is not very popular, which can be seen from the average daily OPD in certain areas (e.g. Surat in Gujarat)”, Patel says, adding, then there are areas where ESIS services are not available – “in villages like Kahanwadi, Mogar, Adas, Vadod from where large numbers of workers work in Nandesari industrial area.”
“Unless, the medical services are improved, the amendment should not be enforced”, Patel concludes, demanding the withdrawal of the draft notification.

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

During Emergency, the ruler was extolled but Opposition wasn't punched around: Scribe

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released book, “India: The Wrong Transition”, by a top Delhi-based scribe Anand K Sahay, has quoted “journalistic circles” to say that the Indian mainstream media – with certain “honourable exceptions” – has virtually abandoned the “practice of journalism”, and  this happened following a “sting operation” that showed that “the crème de la crème of Indian journalism were only too willing, for a suitable price, to let poisonous Hindutva propaganda prevail in their news columns.”

PepsiCo warned: Withdraw cases against Gujarat farmers or face dire consequences

By Our Representative
About 200 farmers’ leaders and activists, in a letter to Dr KV Prabhu, chairperson, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPVFRA), and Dr R C Agrawal, registrar general, PPVFRA, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, have demanded that PepsiCo immediately withdraw all the legal suits it has slapped on many potato farmers in different districts of Gujarat.

Jharkhand Adivasi lynched to death by mob "chanting" Jai Shri Ram: Fact-finding team

Counterview Desk
On April 10, 2019, Prakash Lakda, a 50-year old Adivasi of Jurmu village of Gumla’s Dumri block, was lynched to death by a mob of men from the Sahu community of neighbouring Jairagi village. Three other victims from Jurmu – Peter Kerketta, Belarius Minj and Janerius Minj – sustained severe injuries due to the beating by the mob. A fact-finding team of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), comprising of several activists and representatives of member organisations, conducted a fact-finding inquiry into the incident on April 14-15.

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.