Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) on Thursday decided to takeover all ESI hospitals run jointly by the states and the Centre. It also decided to raise wage ceiling for coverage under the ESI Act from Rs 7,500 to Rs 10,000 a month to benefit more people.

Board chairman and Labour Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao said the decisions would be sent to the Government for approval. He said the step was aimed to improve the health care delivery system and benefit insured workers and their families.

The decision by the ESIC is to involve an annual expenditure of Rs. 400 crore. However, the take over would be subject to willingness of the state governments.

Amnesty scheme

Other decisions taken include an amnesty scheme for withdrawal of criminal cases filed against insured persons and employers, subject to certain conditions. Prosecution cases have been launched against insured persons for giving false statements to get higher cash benefits and against employers for failure to pay their contribution and submit their return of contribution.

At present, the Corporation owns 2,213 acre and 25,75,000 sq metres of space under hospitals, dispensaries, staff quarters and offices all over the country. So far this work was looked after by various Central and state agencies.

It was also decided that the ESI Hospital at Noida in Uttar Pradesh will be converted into a Model Hospital for the state and the ESI Hospital in Sahibabad (UP), which has already been developed as a Model Hospital, will be returned to the state government.

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