25 Aug : The Union Minister for Labour & Employment, Shri Mallikarjun Kharge released the first Set of ‘PEHCHAN’ Identity Cards for distribution to the first 25 ESIC Beneficiaries in Bangalore today.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Kharge stated that the ESI scheme is one of the largest social security schemes in the country covering over 12 million employees in the organised sector. The total number of beneficiaries who are receiving medical care under the scheme is almost 50 million. The scheme has 144 functioning hospitals and 1400 dispensaries to provide services to its beneficiaries.
The coverage under the scheme has been going up from year to year. As a result, the operations involved have become more complex and it has become increasingly difficult to handle these complexities. Accordingly, the ESI Corporation decided on the implementation of an Information Technology Enabled plan to cover all aspects of the scheme so as to improve the delivery of services to the insured persons and at the same time improve the over all efficiency in the functioning of the scheme. The IT Enabled Plan of ESI Corporation ‘Project Panchdeep’, which has been assigned to M/s.Wipro, he said, is based on Build, Own, Operate and Transfer model. The vendor is expected to design the architecture, provide the hardware components, software solutions, networking, etc., and implement the solution to meet ESIC’s business needs.
The Minister also said that the medical treatment to the ESI beneficiaries is being given by the State Governments presently all over the country except Delhi and Noida. Nearly 87.5% of total expenditure on medical treatment is being borne by the Central Government through the ESI Corporation. About 12.5% of the remaining expenditure is borne by the State Governments. It has been observed that the medical care being provided by the State Governments and the medical infrastructure thereof needs improvement. It has also been observed that the satisfaction level of the insured persons and their family members is higher in those hospitals, which are being run by the Corporation directly. In view of these facts, there has been a proposal to take over the medical care scheme from the State Governments by the Corporation. Some State Governments like Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have shown their inclination to this proposal. However, some states have shown their reservation also.
He said that in his view the ESI Corporation as well as all the State Governments should take a decision in this regard so as to increase the satisfaction level of the beneficiaries of the ESI scheme.
The Project ‘PEHCHAN’ is one of the five main components of the IT Roll-out Plan named ‘Project Panchdeep’. The objective of PEHCHAN Project is to provide a pair of Magnetic Plastic Card to all the Insured Persons as well as to their family members.
It involves the preparation and distribution of Plastic Magnetic Cards called ‘Pehchan Identity Cards’ to all the insured person in place of existing paper based cards. Two identical cards shall be issued to the insured person and his family, which will enable them to avail of treatment anywhere in the country.
The process of capturing the data for prepartion of the Pehchan Cards has already begun in the States of Karnataka, U.P., and Delhi. The process will start in the remaining states shortly and shall be completed before August 2010. The IT Enabled is expected to be completed by this date and all processes shall go on line thereafter. The task of preparing and distributing the Pehchan Cards is a mammoth one. Once it is completed, ESIC shall have a comprehensive data base consisting of the name, date of birth and address of the insured person, detils of his family and the fingerprints of insured person and his family members.
With this Card, an Insured Person or his family members may step in to any ESI Dispensaries, ESI Hospitals, ESI Branch Offices during working hours and avail hassle free facilities/services.
One card is with Insured Person and the other with the family which would enable the family to avail treatment even when they are away at different locations. The card will have the photographs of all the family members and their biometric details.
Around 2.40 crore Smart Cards would be prepared under this project.
The Pehchan Card is valid for lifetime across all ESIC hospitals and dispensaries in the country subject to certain conditions. A unique number will be assigned to each member so that he can continue using the Card even in case of a change in job.