Social Security Measures

Social Security In India
India is a Welfare State as envisaged in her constitution. Article of the Indian Constitution lays down, “The State shall within the limits of its economic capacity and development make effective provision securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness, and disablement and other cases of unreserved wants.” Thus, social security constitutes an important step towards the goal of Welfare State, by improving living and working conditions and affording people protection against the various kinds of hazards. The social security measures also contribute to industrial development through making workers efficient and reducing waste arising from industrial disputes, because with these measures a worker feels social and economic security and, therefore, puts his heart and soul in increasing production. Social insurance is provided through the following labour laws:

1. The Employee’s State Insurance Act. 1948
The Employee’s State Insurance Act was passed in 1948 in order to provide various welfare facilities to industrial workers through one agency. It is a compulsory and contributory health insurance scheme. The Employee’s State Insurance Scheme (ESIS) provides medical benefits in the form of medical attendance, treatment, drugs and injections to insured persons and to members of their families where the facility has been extended to the families. The main features of the Act are as under:
a) Coverage
The Act is applicable to all factories employing 20 or more workers. It covers all types of workers (whether manual, supervisory or administrative), whose remuneration (excluding overtime pay) does not exceed the specified salary per month. The State Government is empower to extend the Act to cover other establishments with the approval of the Central Government.
b) Administration
The Act is administered by the Employee State Insurance (ESI) autonomous body consisting of the Corporation. It is an autonomous body consisting of the representatives of the Central and State Government, employers, employees, medical profession and the Parliament.
c) Funds
Benefits are provided from the Employees State Insurance Fund set up through contributions from employers, employees and various grants, donations and gift received from Central and State Governments, local authorities and others. The rate of contribution by employer is 4.75% of the wages payable to employees. The employees’ contribution is at the rate of 1.75% of the wages payable to an employee. Employees, earning less than Rs. 137/- a day as daily wages, are exempted from payment of their share of contribution.

d) Benefits
i. Medical Benefit
Full medical care is provided to an Insured person and his family members from the day he enters insurable employment. There is no ceiling on expenditure on the treatment of an Insured Person or his family member. Medical care is also provided to retired and permanently disabled insured persons and their spouses on payment of a token annual premium of Rs.120/- .
Medical benefit is of three types:
• Restricted Medical Care
It consists of outpatient medical care at dispensaries or panel clinics. These institutions provide drugs, prenatal and post natal care, consultation with medical officers, family planning and immunization services.
• Expanded Medical Care
It involves consultation with specialists, supply of special medicines, X-ray and laboratory tests and calling a doctor to the worker’s residence to see a serious case.
• Full Medical Care
Hospitalization, specialist advice and drugs and diet are available for inpatients.

ii. Sickness Benefit
Sickness Benefit in the form of cash compensation at the rate of 70 per cent of wages is payable to insured workers during the periods of certified sickness for a maximum of 91 days in a year. In order to qualify for sickness benefit the insured worker is required to contribute for 78 days in a contribution period of 6 months.
• Extended Sickness Benefit(ESB) : SB extendable upto two years in the case of 34 malignant and long-term diseases at an enhanced rate of 80 per cent of wages.
• Enhanced Sickness Benefit : Enhanced Sickness Benefit equal to full wage is payable to insured persons undergoing sterilization for 7 days/14 days for male and female workers respectively.

iii. Maternity Benefit
Maternity Benefit for confinement/pregnancy is payable for Twenty Six (26) weeks, which is extendable by further one month on medical advice at the rate of full wage subject to contribution for 70 days in the preceding Two Contribution Periods.

iv. Disablement Benefit
• Temporary disablement benefit (TDB) : From day one of entering insurable employment & irrespective of having paid any contribution in case of employment injury. Temporary Disablement Benefit at the rate of 90% of wage is payable so long as disability continues.
• Permanent disablement benefit (PDB) : The benefit is paid at the rate of 90% of wage in the form of monthly payment depending upon the extent of loss of earning capacity as certified by a Medical Board

v. Dependent’s Benefit
DB paid at the rate of 90% of wage in the form of monthly payment to the dependants of a deceased Insured person in cases where death occurs due to employment injury or occupational hazards.

vi. Funeral Benefits
An amount of Rs.10,000/- is payable to the dependents or to the person who performs last rites from day one of entering insurable employment. The eldest surviving member of the deceased worker’s family is entitled to receive payment for the expenditure incurred on funeral subject to a prescribed maximum. The amount should be claimed within three months of the death.

e) Working
The Act has provided a much needed protection to workers. However, the ESI is criticized on the grounds that the medical treatment given is not satisfactory and there is delay in providing benefits to insured workers. The Act needs to be enforced more effectively.

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