ESIC scheme was inaugurated in Kanpur on 24th February 1952 (ESIC Day) by then Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. The venue was the Brijender Swarup Park, Kanpur and Panditji addressed a 70,000 strong gathering in Hindi in the presence of Pt. Gobind Ballabh Pant, Chief Minister Uttar Pradesh, Babu Jagjivan Ram, Union Labour Minister, Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur, Union Health Minister, Sh.Chandrabhan Gupt, Union Food Minister and Dr.C.L.Katial, the first Director General of ESIC.
ESIC scheme was simultaneously launched at Delhi as well and the initial coverage for both the centers was 1,20,000 employees. Our first Prime Minister was the first honorary insured person of the Scheme.
The Employees’ State Insurance Scheme is an integrated measure of Social Insurance embodied in the Employees’ State Insurance Act and it is designed to accomplish the task of protecting ‘employees‘ as defined in the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 against the impact of incidences of sickness, maternity, disablement and death due to employment injury and to provide medical care to insured persons and their families. The ESI Scheme applies to factories and other establishment’s viz. Road Transport, Hotels, Restaurants, Cinemas, Newspaper, Shops, and Educational/Medical Institutions wherein 10 or more persons are employed. However, in some States threshold limit for coverage of establishments is still 20. Employees of the aforesaid categories of factories and establishments, drawing wages upto Rs.15,000/- a month, are entitled to social security cover under the ESI Act. ESI Corporation has also decided to enhance wage ceiling for coverage of employees under the ESI Act from Rs.15,000/- to Rs.21,000/-.
The ESI Scheme is financed by contributions from employers and employees. 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.