Nearly 1.5 million new subscribers joined various social security schemes run by the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) in May this year, higher than the monthly average in 2019-20, the year that preceded the pandemic.
While all the new subscribers do not necessarily mean new jobs, the rise in new registrations may not indicate improvement in labour market dynamics.
The ESIC is applicable to all factories and other establishments employing 10 or more persons earning up to Rs 21,000 a month. The ESI Act, 1948, which governs the corporation, does not apply to the unorganised sector now. In the contributory scheme, the employer contributes 3.25% and the employee 0.75% of the wages towards the scheme.
The ESI scheme is now fully implemented in 443 districts and partially implemented in 153 districts, whereas 148 districts are not covered under the ESI scheme. The ESIC is taking steps to fully cover the districts with partial implementation and non-implementation, across the country, by the end of the current year.
On an average, there were 1.26 million new registrations under the ESIC scheme in a month in 2019-20, but this fell to a monthly average of 0.96 million in 2020-21, when the pandemic hit the country hard. There were some improvements in the monthly average of new registrations in 2021-22 at 1.24 million, despite the second wave.
Since April 2018, the ministry of statistics and programme implementation (MosPI) has been bringing out employment-related statistics in the formal sector covering the period September 2017 onwards, using information on the number of subscribers who have subscribed under major schemes, including the ESIC and the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).
A little over 0.96 million new subscribers joined the social security schemes run by the EPFO in April.
Between September 2017 and April 2022, a total of 67.6 million new subscribers have joined the ESI scheme. During the same period, nearly 54.8 million new subscribers joined the EPFO.