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The promulgation of Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948(ESI Act), by the Parliament was the first major legislation on social Security for workers in independent India. It was a time when the industry was still in a nascent stage and the country was heavily dependent on an assortment of imported goods from the developed or fast developing countries. The deployment of manpower in manufacturing processes was limited to a few select industries such as jute, textile, chemicals etc. The legislation on creation and development of a multi-dimensional Social Security System, was obviously a remarkable gesture towards the socio economic amelioration of a workface though limited in number and geographic distribution. India, notwithstanding, thus, took the lead in providing organized social protection to the working class through statutory provisions.

The ESI Act 1948, encompasses certain health related eventualities that the workers are generally exposed to; such as sickness, maternity, temporary or permanent disablement, occupational diseases or death due to employment injury, resulting in loss of wages or earning capacity-total or partial. The provision made in the Act negates the resulting physical or financial distress.

The scheme was inaugurated in Kanpur on 24th February 1952 (ESIC Day) by then Prime Minister PanditJawaharLal Nehru. The venue was the BrijenderSwarup Park, Kanpur and Panditji addressed a 70,000 strong gathering in Hindi in the presence of Pt.GobindBallabh Pant, Chief Minister Uttar Pradesh; BabuJagjivan Ram, Union Labour Minister; Raj KumariAmritKaur, Union Health Minister; Sh.ChandrabhanGupt, Union Food Minister and Dr.C.L.Katial, the first Director General of ESIC. The scheme was simultaneously launched at Delhi as well and the initial coverage for both the centres was 1,20,000 employees. Our first prime Minister was the first honorary insured person of the Scheme and the declaration form bearing his signature is a prized possession of the Corporation.

During the 60 years of its existence, ESIC has grown from strength to strength and the Corporation owes it, most of all, to the commitment, dedication and perseverance of all the ESIC employees, insured persons, beneficiaries and the clients. The magnitude of the strength of ESIC can be judged by the statistics as under:

Coverage

State/Union Territories covered 29
No. of Centres 790
No. of Insured Persons/Family Units 1.55 Crores
No. of Insured Women 24.88 Lakhs
Total Beneficiaries 6.02 Crores
No. of Employers covered 4.43 Lakhs

Infrastructure

ROs/SROs/Dos 57
Branch Offices/Pay Offices 799
Inspection Offices 374
ESI Hospitals 149
ESI Annexes 42
ESI Dispensaries 1403
ISM Units 93
Insurance Medical Officers 7455
Insured Medical Practitioners 1447

More details at the ESIC website www.esic.nic.in

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