Here is some good news for Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA). They are set to get an increased fixed incentive of ₹6,000 a month from November.
A decision to this effect was taken during a marathon meeting involving Health Minister B. Sriramulu and officials of the Department of Health and Family Welfare on Friday, sources said. Earlier this month, representatives of Karnataka Rajya Samyukta ASHA Karyakarteyara Sangha had met Mr. Sriramulu with their woes. The workers had alleged that over the past 11 months, they were not paid in tune with their workload.
According to the health activists, although they were supposed to be paid in the range of ₹5,000 to ₹8,000, they were getting paid between ₹800 and ₹2,500 because of problems related to the Reproductive Child Health (RCH) portal.
D. Nagalakshmi, State secretary of the forum, said these health workers often have long working hours and are asked to do work beyond their job profile. Their main demand to the government was a fixed monthly incentive of ₹12,000. The workers were supposed to fill up details of the tasks performed by them on the portal, which is maintained by the Union government. As they often did not have adequate manpower or planning to get the details uploaded, many health workers were left in the lurch, receiving only part of what is due to them on account of technical glitches.
Flood woes too
Highlighting their plight, Yashoda, an ASHA from Munavalli, Belagavi, said her house, as well as those of her colleagues, was washed away in the recent floods. “We now stay in a nearby school, but we continue to contribute to the flood relief works. Service is our primary concern and governments pay no heed to us,” she said.
Another ASHA, from Kalaburagi, said that many of the health workers live over 20 km from the nearest public health centre and it was not possible for them to go there every few weeks to fill up their work details.
An official from the Health Department said that on average, an ASHA should be getting ₹3,000 from the portal. “Owing to software problems, we have decided to de-link ₹2,000 from the RCH portal and make it a fixed incentive of ₹6,000, which includes both the State and Centre’s share. This apart, ₹1,000 will be paid based on what they fill in the portal,” the official said.
Sources also said the Health Department has spoken to the NIC about payment processing delays of 10-15 days, and has asked that it be brought down to two days. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has directed the Health Department to credit payments to ASHAs within the fifth of every month.
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