Employees' State Insurance (abbreviated as ESI) is public social security and health insurance fund for Indian workers. The fund is managed by the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) according to rules and regulations stipulated in the ESI Act 1948. ESIC is a Statutory and an Autonomous Body under the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India.
In March 1943, Prof. B.P.Adarkar was appointed by the Government of India to create a report on the health insurance scheme for industrial workers. The report became the basis for the Employment State Insurance (ESI) Act of 1948. The promulgation of the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 envisaged an integrated need based social insurance scheme that would protect the interest of workers in contingencies such as sickness, maternity, temporary or permanent physical disablement, death due to employment injury resulting in loss of wages or earning capacity. The Act also guarantees reasonably good medical care to workers and their immediate dependents. Following the promulgation of the ESI Act the Central Govt. set up the ESI Corporation to administer the Scheme. The Scheme thereafter was first implemented at Kanpur and Delhi on 24 February 1952. The Act further absolved the employers of their obligations under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 and Workmen's Compensation Act 1923. The benefits provided to the employees under the Act are also in conformity with ILO conventions.
The act was initially intended for factory workers but later became applicable to all establishments having 10 or more workers. As on 31 March 2016, the total beneficiaries are 82.8 million.