ESI hospitals to extend healthcare to labourers too

July 7th, 2008 - 7:26 pm ICT by IANS  


Bhiwadi (Rajasthan), July 7 (IANS) Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) hospitals currently providing healthcare facilities to industrial workers have now opened their doors to millions of labourers working in the unorganized sector, Minister of State for Labour and Employment Oscar Fernandes said Monday. “The number of unorganized sector workers is far more than that of organised sector worker. By moving an ordinance, we (central government) have decided that all these workers can now avail medical facility at ESI hospitals,” Fernades told IANS.

“With this inclusion, over 90 percent of the workforce can get social security in terms of health,” he added.

He said the provision of the Swasthya Beema Yojna or health insurance scheme for below- poverty-line (BPL) workers in the unorganized sector will help them avail of the facility at ESI hospitals without any hassles. The scheme provides a cover of Rs.30,000 per BPL family per year.

Fernandes was in Bhiwadi, a major industrial township of Rajasthan, to lay the foundation stone of a 100-bed full-fledged ESI hospital.

“This will be a state-of-the-art hospital with facilities ranging from surgery, CT scan, dialysis treatment, ENT (ear, nasal, throat) and all other required super-specialty facilities,” Fernandes said.

“This will be the second biggest ESI hospital in Rajasthan (after Jaipur) and provide instant healthcare to over 40,000 workers of the Bhiwadi industrial area,” he added.

“Besides the workers, around 200,000 people (family members of the workers) will also benefit from the project.”

L.K. Pattanaik, regional director (Rajasthan) of ESI Corporation, said that the hospital will be ready in next 18 months with an investment of nearly Rs.180 million.

ESI Corporation currently has 144 full-fledged hospitals, 42 hospital annexes, 1,388 dispensaries, 1,942 panel clinics and 300 diagnostic centres across the country.

Besides Fernandes, Minister of Mines Sis Ram Ola, Rajasthan’s Minister of Labour and Employment Ram Kishore Meena and several state-level political leaders were present at the foundation laying ceremony.

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