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Labour and Employment ministry-backed Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) on Sunday accorded approval for investments of surplus funds in equity, however, restricted to Exchanged Traded Funds (ETFs). Union Labour Minister Bhupender Yadav said, ESIC to upgrade and modernize its infrastructure under the ‘Nirman Se Shakti’ initiative.

The announcement was made in the 189th meeting of ESIC held under the chairmanship of the labour union minister.

In the meeting, ESIC accorded approval for investments of surplus funds in equity, restricted to ETFs due to the relatively low returns on debt instruments coupled with the need to diversify.

As per the PIB statement, the initial investment shall start at 5% and increase up to 15% gradually, after a review of two quarters.

Further, the investment will be confined to ETFs i.e., Nifty50 and Sensex, while fund managers of AMCs will manage the funds.

It said, the equity investment will be monitored by the existing Custodian, External Concurrent Auditor, and Consultant looking after the debt investments in addition to the management of ETF for equity.

Meanwhile, to improve the healthcare and benefits services delivery mechanism and strengthen the infrastructure of ESIC towards managing the increasing number of insured workers coming into the ambit of the ESI Scheme, approval was granted to the proposal for setting up a new 100 bedded ESIC Hospital at Shyamlibazar, Agartala, Tripura and 100 bedded ESIC Hospital at Idukki, Kerala. The 100 bedded ESIC Hospitals at Agartala and Idukki will cater to the medical needs of around 60 thousand beneficiaries each.

Also, ESIC approved the proposal of increasing the number of seats under the Wards of Insured Persons (IPs) category in two of its ESIC Nursing Colleges at Gulbarga and Bengaluru. Further, the ESI Corporation also approved the proposal to start Ph.D., MDS, nursing, and paramedical courses in its medical institutions spread across the country.

Further, ESIC gave in-principal approval for the execution of Annual Repair Maintenance & Operational work (ARMO) and Special Repair (SR) works by the Engineering Wing under the Project Management Division (PMD) of ESI Corporation.

Additionally, they decided to execute the Capital works in ESIC through Central / State PSUs besides CPWD. A fresh empanelment of such Central / State PSU will be invited by the ESIC for empanelment in due course.

During the meeting, Yadav directed ESIC to emphasize on strengthening the infrastructure. He further informed that the ‘Nirman Se Shakti’ initiative has been started to strengthen and modernize the infrastructure of ESIS hospitals and dispensaries in a phased manner.

Further, in the meeting, Rameswar Teli, Minister of State for Labour and Employment informed that the latest technologies are proposed to be adopted by ESIC for the construction and monitoring of projects using drones and an online real-time dashboard.

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