The Ministry of Labour and Employment is expected to relax eligibility rules for availing unemployment benefits. The ministry is likely to soon move a proposal to relax the eligibility conditions substantially for those seeking unemployment benefits under the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) scheme.
The proposal also aims to upgrade the quantum of benefits to 50 per cent of last drawn wages as well as double the support duration from three to six months.
The Labour Ministry also recommends doing away with the condition that the (unemployment) benefit can be availed only once in a lifetime thereby enhancing its tenure.
The proposal will be tabled before the corporation meeting on August 20, The Economic Times reported. If cleared, it will benefit over 32 million ESIC subscribers if they ever become unemployed.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) backs the idea as it has been emphasising on some fine-tuning in the current provisions to benefit a significant number of people in the event of job losses. The PMO wants the benefit norms much along the lines of unemployment allowances in other countries.
One of the officials told the publication that "the proposal has been presented to the PMO last week and will be tabled in the corporation meeting next week".
Labour ministry's proposal also aims at lowering the minimum work requirement from two years to 78 days besides allowing manifold withdrawals under the scheme, subject to some conditions though.
Under the scheme called the Atal Beema Vyakti Kalyan Yojana of ESIC, the government gives 25 per cent of the monthly salary as unemployment benefit for three months.
It is a welfare measure which provides unemployment insurance to workers who have signed up for it under the ESIC scheme.
However, a worker can avail the unemployment benefit only if he/she has been an ESIC subscriber for at least two years. The benefit can only be availed once in a lifetime by a subscriber.