The ESI Department although has gone online but the system is not in place as yet for online submission of the Return of Contribution. The online module is still not fully developed and still not all modules and not all functions and not at all places it is fully operational.
First of all, the submission of Return under ESI Scheme is governed by Regulation 26 (1) of the ESI General Regulations 1950 and which is not yet amended so as to include the electronic submission of return acceptable.
The ESI Deptt. have provided a link on the user page about the Return of contribution for specified period but it has its limitations e.g. when an employer have contribution for one month or two months only and the eligible employee left service then the employer will not make any entry into the ESI System but when the period expires and the employer goes for return preparation the web page will return an error that because the Data is not submitted for all month you cannot view/print the Return.
Also, there is no way the Return could be said to be authenticated because once User ID is shared anyone can log in and insert the data without the knowledge of the Authorised Person because it doesn't ask for any additional User level Password access just like Banking system where each user has separate User ID/Pass and system administrator can easily know which transaction has been done by which employee of the Bank. Also, the employer cannot be held liable for any error/wrong submission as the online submission of the information is not supported by any digital signatures so as to make one accountable for any error/wrong submission.
So I'd advise all who read this thread that until suitable amendments are carried out by the ESI Corporation itself there shouldn't be any omission in submission of the ESI Return whenever due. Sometime, the ESI Official working at the Branch Office'll itself refuse to accept the ESI Return on the pretext of system having gone online but they are at fault because of the reasons I have already explained.
Hope this satisfy your query.
Payroll Management &
7th December 2011 From India, Delhi