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Essential Services Maintenance Act

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Essential Services Maintenance Act:


The Uttar Pradesh government has extended the Essential Services Maintenance Act in the State, banning strikes in all departments and corporations under it for a period of another six months.

About ESMA, 1968:

The Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) is an act of Parliament of India.

Objective: It was established to ensure the delivery of certain services, which if obstructed would affect the normal life of the people.

These include services like public transport (bus services), health services (doctors and hospitals).

  • ESMA gives police right to arrest without a warrant anybody violating the Act’s provisions.


The ESMA is a law made by the Parliament of India under List No. 33 in Concurrent List of 7th Schedule of Constitution of India.

  • Although it is a very powerful law, its execution rests entirely on the discretion of the State government. Each state in the union of India, hence has a separate state Essential Services Maintenance Act with slight variations from the central law in its provisions. This freedom is accorded by the central law itself.


Prelims Link:

  1. Implementation of the law.
  2. Key provisions.
  3. Key subjects in the concurrent list.

Mains Link:

Discuss the issues associated with the implementation of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).

Sources: the Hindu.