More workers to be brought under EPFO, ESIC coverage: Oscar

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New Delhi, Aug 14 (UNI) More workers will be brought under coverage of the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) under a special drive.

In addition, steps were being contemplated to improve their delivery system and make them more efficient, Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment (independent charge) Oscar Fernandes announced at a meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of his ministry held here last evening.

Apprising the members of the recent initiatives taken by the Government, he said appointment of four fund managers in place of one would bring in greater efficiency and higher returns for Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

To bring in more efficiency and momentum in the working of the organisation, EPFO was implementing a project 'Reinventing EPF India' and the first phase of the project would be completed within the next 10-12 months. This, he said, would ease and speed up data and record compilation of EPF making it more transparent and efficient. Steps were being contemplated to strengthen the grievance machinery and restructure the organisation, the minister said.

On efforts to improve the delivery of benefits to the insured and to improve their satisfaction levels, Mr Fernandes said the ESIC had decided to modernise its entire service delivery by implementing a comprehensive IT rollout plan. He said all ESI hospitals would get ISO certification to ensure quality services. The process had already begun and four hospitals had obtained the certification. An action plan had been taken up for strengthening preventive and promotive health care including occupational health, the Minister added.

Besides, the Government has also decided to constitute Hospitals Development Committee for all ESI hospitals in the country with representative of stakeholders to monitor the functioning of the hospitals and take on-the-spot decisions. Mr Fernandes said ESI had also decided to set up its own medical colleges and training institutes for para-medical staff and nursing staff to overcome the shortage of staff. Besides commissioning of a super specialty hospital at Kollam (Kerala), another super specialty hospital was being set up at Hyderabad.

Reiterating the Government's commitment to the welfare of employees, the Labour Minister said to reduce the pendency of prosecution cases against employers and employees, this year an amnesty scheme was being implemented under which provision had been made that if all the dues were paid along with interest and reduced damages, the cases would be withdrawn. A client's satisfaction survey and census of covered and uncovered units was being carried out through independent agencies to have correct feedback and data, he informed.

Members of Parliament who attended the meeting were Mr P Rajendran, Mr Gurudas Dasgupta, Mr Rajinarayan Budholiya, Mr Balihari Babu and Mr Mohammed Amin.

UNI SD AE KP1621

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