The Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) is an act of Parliament of India. It is a central law.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Why in news? Delhi government has invoked ESAM to declare nurse’s strike illegal

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