Govt to relax soon eligibility rules for availing unemployment allowance under ESIC scheme
The Ministry of Labour and Employment is likely to propose significant relaxation in the eligibility criteria for seeking unemployment benefits under the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) scheme. Also, the government is actively considering hiking the amount of benefits to 50 per cent of last drawn salary and double the support tenure to six months.
Besides this, the Labour Ministry is also planning to remove the provision that states the benefit can be availed only once in a lifetime and increase the period of benefit. The suggestions, which will be presented before the ESIC members meeting on August 20, can help more than 3.2 crore ESIC subscribers should they become jobless.
Reliable sources familiar with the matter told ET that the proposal has the support of the Prime Minister’s Office, which had asked for some changes in the existing condition to benefit a majority of people in the event of job losses, similar to unemployment grant in other countries.
The idea has the backing of the Prime Minister’s Office. “The proposal has been presented to the PMO last week and will now be tabled in the corporation meeting scheduled next week,” ET quoted an unnamed official as saying on condition of anonymity.
During the complete month of nationwide lockdown in April, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) had estimated around 12.1 crore workers became unemployed. However, it showed a sign of recovery in May and by end of June, 9.1 crore jobs were recovered with the majority in the month of June—the first month of unlocking.
The proposal is to hike the insured amount to 50% of the last drawn salary, increase the period of benefit to six months from three months, cut the minimum work requirement to 78 days and allow many withdrawals under the scheme subject to certain conditions.
Under the Atal Beema Vyakti Kalyan Yojana of ESIC, the government gives 25 per cent of the monthly salary as unemployment benefit for three months.
However, this could help only those workers who have been an ESIC subscriber for minimum least two years. At present, the unemployment benefit can be availed only once in the lifetime work period by the ESIC subscribers.