Considering the large population of unorganised-sector workers such as beedi workers and industrial workers, Mangalore became the sixth sub-division of the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) in the State on Thursday.
At a symbolic inauguration in the city, Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment Kodikunnil Suresh said Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts have 2,000 factories and establishments under ESI Scheme with around 2,20,000 insured persons.
The newly set up Sub-Regional Office in Navbharath Circle would encompass the existing three branches here — Baikampady, Udupi, and Mangalore city. “Nearly Rs. 2,000 crore has been spent on developing ESIC in Karnataka in the past five years, and 27 out of 30 districts have been covered, and 70.07 lakh workers have been enrolled,” he said.
On the problems in delivering health services to policy holders, he said, “We have asked the State government to send proposals to the Centre for funding to strengthen the primary healthcare services.”
The embattled 100-bed ESI Hospital in the city, that is run by the State government, may be taken over the ESIC. Mr. Suresh said the State government had submitted a proposal, and considering the difficulty in managing the hospital, the corporation would “seriously” consider the proposal. The Minister of State said he was unaware of targeting of labour activist Sudatta Jain by the ESI hospital. It must be remembered that after a prolonged hunger strike by Mr. Jain, the ESIC had issued a notice to his employer. “I will get details of this, and take appropriate action,” he said.