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

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Not just Indian women engineers, men too face sexual harassment at workplace: US study

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research, carried out jointly by two US-based non-profit organizations, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Center for WorkLife Law (WLL), based at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has found that 45% of women engineers as against 28% of men engineers complained that it was perceived as “inappropriate when women argued at work, even when it was work-related.”

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

Poser to Modi: Why is Gujarat not fulfilling Constitutional obligations to minorities?

Counterview Desk
In an open letter, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on infringing upon MCC activists’ constitutional right to protest. Nafees says, they had no other demands except that the Gujarat government should move towards fulfilling the constitutional obligations towards minorities and international treaties to which India is a signatory.