Asha workers demand minimum wages

Asha workers stage a protest in front of the deputy commissioner’s office in Mangaluru on Saturday.

Accredited Social Health Activist (Asha) workers staged a protest urging the government to implement their demands including increasing their monthly honorarium in front of the deputy commissioner’s office on Saturday.

Nagalakshmi, Karnataka Rajya Samyukta Asha Karyakartheyara Sangha state secretary, addressing the protesters, urged the government to fix minimum wages for Asha workers.

“Andhra Pradesh has fixed an honorarium of Rs 10,000 to Asha workers. In Karnataka, as promised by the chief minister, the honorarium amount should be increased to Rs 12,000. The incentive for Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS) service is pending for past 10 months and should be released at the earliest. In addition, the honorarium of Rs 3,000 should be paid for MCTS service every month to ASHA,” she listed out.

Pension scheme

She urged the government to announce a pension scheme for retired ASHA workers.

“Although the government introduced ‘Asha Soft’, a web portal linked to the mother-child tracking system in 2016 to make it easier to pay Asha workers, it has complicated the payment. Delay in updating the data of the work, had worsened the situation. Within the available time, we have to rush to the primary healthcare centre or an internet centre to upload the data. As a result, the release of monthly honorarium has been delayed” she explained.

She said the government has also neglected the health of the Asha workers. “As promised by the previous health minister, a welfare fund should be set up for Asha workers, to provide compensation to the family in case of sudden death. The government should create a corpus fund for the purpose,” she added.

The protesters also urged the government to provide retirement benefit for the workers. In addition, they demanded paid maternity leave.

‘No incentive’

“Although we have been carrying out larvae survey twice a month, we have not received any incentive for many years. A minimum of Rs 300 per day should be fixed for conducting the survey, attending rally for public awareness programmes among others. Asha workers are made to conduct a survey outside their jurisdiction or taluks and the incentives are not paid for them. As per the Central government guidelines, an Asha worker should be appointed for a population of 2000 to 2500 in urban areas,” said the protesters.

Dakshina Kannada district has 1,100 Asha workers.

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