Ensure Dignity, Protection & Remuneration of ASHA’s - India’s Frontline Health Workers

Ensure Dignity, Protection & Remuneration of ASHA’s - India’s Frontline Health Workers

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Nilankur Das started this petition to Shri Mansukh L. Mandaviya and

Dear friends and active citizens,

The time has come. We must stand for the rights of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA).

These ASHAs are instituted by the ‘National Rural Health Mission'. These all women workforce, over 9 lakh of them, are at the bottom of the pyramid - the interface between the community and Indian Public Health Delivery System, standing in the last mile - creating an Oasis. They enjoy no rights or legal protection and deserve, at the very least to be treated as regular employees who enjoy a dignified wage, health and work- place benefits and allowances. The work they do is pivotal at all times. During the last Coronavirus pandemic they worked doggedly round-the-clock as frontline workers, risking both life and good health. We must ensure a social and legal security net for them.  

India is on the 3rd wave and cases are rising across the country. In this uncertain scenario, us, more specifically the people who are staying in remote areas, far flung villages, away from regular access to healthcare, are obliged to rely heavily on these ASHAs. We, as citizens, ask and expect our Government to take note of the situation and prepare a comprehensive plan for addressing this issue. Moreover, statistics show that in all states of the country, a large number of vacancies in the appointment of ASHAs overburden a tiny and valiant workforce, already grossly overworked.

The responsibility of health delivery in rural India lies heavily on the shoulders of ASHAs. In return, they do not even get paid regular monthly salaries, their job is not secure, they work without health insurance and get paid with incentives, often delayed or deducted. To make matters worse, the Government is hardly providing them with the necessary amount of personal safety or medical testing equipment. 

Ideally, they should be equipped to take on this 3rd wave and be compensated. We lost ASHAs due to covid last year, in their line of duty, because they had to work throughout the menacing pandemic. All we ask for is the improved investment in the Public Health Delivery system. 

ASHAs are often paid as little as INR 2800 a month without the benefits of welfare schemes because she is not an employee of the Government. We demand that ASHA workers be given benefits of schemes that ensure some level of food and health Security.

We are addressing this issue with a determination that the ASHAs grievances are fulfilled. We simply cannot let these front line selfless workers voices stay unheard. 

Our 11 demands are -

1. The wages to be fixed at Rs.18,000 for ASHAs and Rs.24,000 for ASHA Supervisors per month. Additional expenses such as mobile bill, stationery charges etc. must be reimbursed as they have multiple paperwork to handle.

2. Every task assigned to them must be officially recorded. They should not be made to carry out tasks for any other department than health. 

3. They must be given adequate training. 

4. Government MUST provide thermal guns, oximeters, facial shields, sanitizers, gloves and other PPE for their personal protection. 

5. Making them work without adequate PPE must be considered as a criminal offence.

6. They should get 26 weeks leave during pregnancy under the Maternity Benefits Act, 1961. 

7. The benefit of all government holidays and weekly holidays should be ensured to them.

8. Demand of an insurance worth Rs.50 Lakhs that is NOT limited to the duration of the Pandemic.

9. Provision of an additional Rs.10,000 per month as risk allowance till the period of lockdowns, curfews and restrictions continue.

10. Demand for hospital beds assured to them if they fell ill. Adequate compensation should be given to their families if something happens to them in the course of their Covid-19 duty. 

11. Appoint them as Government employees. This will help them avail the benefits of Government schemes.

They had put forward their demands multiple times to several state, district and block level officials including Ministers and Chief Ministers, but all fell on deaf ears. We cannot afford to lose another ASHA worker, she’s not an individual, she’s the embodiment of hope for us.

The ground reports of their agitation across India is in the link below : - 


In Solidarity,


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