The NSO (National Statistical Office) has recently released a report titled ‘Payroll Reporting in India: An Employment Perspective – February 2021’. It has been releasing such reports since April 2018 and covers the period starting September 2017 onwards. A part of the report informs readers that the ESIC Scheme Adds 11.58 lakh, new members, in February 2021 against 11.78 lakh in the previous month, let us first understand the basics of ESIC.
What is ESIC?
ESIC, or the Employees State Insurance Corporation, is a legal body set up under the ESI Act, 1948. It governs and manages the ESI or the Employee State Insurance scheme in India.
The ESI scheme financially covers employees against emergencies arising out of sickness, total or partial disablement, or death at the workplace. It also covers medical care expenses for employees and their families during such emergencies.
The ESI scheme requires an employer to contribute (if ESI is applicable) a monthly amount equal to 3.25% of an employee’s monthly wages. The employee needs to contribute 0.75% of his/her monthly wages.
ESIC Registration – Benefits for Employees
An ESIC registration provides several benefits to employees, some of which are as follows:
- Sickness benefits equal to 70% of salary if any validated illness continues for 91 days at the most in any given year.
- Medical benefits for self and family.
- Paid maternity leaves.
- A monthly payment equalling 90% of the monthly salary in the event of death while at work (made to dependents).
- A monthly payment equalling 90% of the monthly salary in the event of total or partial disablement (made to self or dependents).
- Funeral expenses.
- Old-age medical care expenses.
ESIC Scheme Adds 11.58 lakh, new members
Alright, let’s come back to the news. The NSO report provides a perspective on the state of affairs in India’s formal sector employment during the Covid-19 crisis. It is essential to remind our viewers that the GOI had imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 25, 2020, to contain the deadly Coronavirus. It later relaxed the restrictions to ensure people’s livelihood and various economic activities do not suffer. Let’s understand the observations of the report better with the help of the table given below.
|Month||Gross New Enrollments with ESIC (in lakhs)|
The table indicates that immediately after the relaxation in the lockdown, gross new enrollments increased from 2.63 lakhs in Apr’20 to 8.87 lakhs in June’20. Barring July and November 2020, the upward surge was noticeable till December 2020, when the gross new enrollments stood at 12.30 lakhs.
The report shows that gross new enrollments with ESIC stood at 1.51 crore in 2019-20 compared to 1.49 crore in 2018-19. Also, it shows that approximately 83.55 lakh new subscribers were added to the ESI scheme.
The report further observes that the gross new enrolments with ESIC stood at 4.86 crores from September 2017 to February 2021.
The Basis of the NSO Report
The report bases itself on the payroll data of new subscribers. The data is obtained from various sources such as the EPFO (Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation), various ESI schemes, and the PFRDA (Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority).
According to the report, the net new enrollments with EPFO stood at 12.37 lakhs in February 2021 compared to 11.95 lakhs in January 2021.
It also showed that from September 2017 to February 2021, the number of gross new subscribers with EPFO stood at around 4.11 crore.
The NSO also added that the report only provides various perspectives relating to employment levels in the formal sector and does not quantify aggregate employment levels.
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