ASHAs to go on indefinite strike from January 3

Published - December 30, 2019 10:05 pm IST - Bengaluru

Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) from across the State have threatened to launch a massive indefinite day-and-night protest at Freedom Park in Bengaluru from January 3. Their demands include a fixed monthly honorarium of ₹12,000 and delinking of the Reproductive Child Health (RCH) portal from ASHA Soft, the Centre’s online payment system for ASHAs.

Nearly 25,000 ASHAs are likely to descend on the city for the protest.

D. Nagalakshmi, secretary of Karnataka State Samyukta ASHA Workers’ Association, said workers who had a meeting with Health Minister B. Sriramulu and top health officials in the city on Monday were not happy with the government’s response to their demands. “This is our fourth meeting with the Minister and all that we have been getting are false promises. We will stage a two-day strike and continue the strike indefinitely till our demands are met,” she said.

The ASHAs are also demanding timely disbursement of salaries as most of them have not received payments for the last 15 months.

Ms. Nagalakshmi said ASHA Soft, which facilitates the Health Department to capture beneficiary-wise details of services given by ASHAs to the community, and also ensure online payments to their bank accounts, is making life harder for them. “The beneficiary-wise details that are uploaded by data entry operators is invariably delayed or not done properly due to which most of us do not get paid on time,” she said.

Health Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey said of the 12 demands, the government had accepted four totally and four partially. “We cannot give them a fixed honorarium as the Centre has put in place a performance-based incentive payment mode for ASHAs across the country,” he said. Dismissing the workers’ claims that payments were delayed due to improper data entry on the portal, the commissioner said: “We have simplified data entry and one ANM has been assigned for every four ASHAs. An exclusive tablet has been provided for data entry and there should not be a problem.”

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