Sops likely for Asha, anganwadi, workers

Showering riches to attract voters in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, the UPA government is set to hike honorarium to Asha, anganwadi and mid-day meal workers.

The Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, is likely to take up the issue this week. Though the exact quantum of hike is not known, sources told Deccan Herald that it will be substantial. The Ministry of Women and Child Development had proposed that the anganwadi workers should get an additional honorarium of around Rs 500 per month, while helpers and assistants should get Rs 300 more.

At present, the anganwadi workers are paid between Rs 2,938 and Rs 3,063 per month, depending on their service, while helpers get Rs 1,500. There are around 12.7 lakh anganwadi workers and 11.6 lakh helpers in 13.39 lakh centres in the country.

In a bid to provide social security benefits to these workers, the government may extend out-patient benefits under its Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) scheme, which at present offers hospitalisation benefits up to Rs 30,000 a year to each household.

RSBY was initially meant only for households below the poverty line, but it was extended to construction workers, street vendors, beedi workers, domestic and MGNREGS workers, sanitation and mine workers, rag pickers and rickshaw pullers.

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