ASHAs Protest in Jammu Demanding Minimum Pay
THE Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) Workers Union organised a day-long protest in front of the office of mission director of the National Health Mission (NHM) in Nagrota, Jammu, on September 4, over their long-pending demands. A large number of ASHA workers participated in the protest demonstrations.
Om Parkash, state general secretary of CITU, addressed the protestors and said that it is a fact that much of the credit for the successful fight against the first and second waves of Covid-19 in Jammu and Kashmir goes to the 14,000 ASHA workers who have worked selflessly. He added that it is shameful for the nation that it has not recognised their work and regularised their pay even though a number of them were martyred to save thousands of people in the fight against Covid-19. He said that the ASHA workers have risked their lives and that of their family members and yet the government is not ready to give them minimum wages, social security or pension as per the recommendations of the 45th and 46th Indian Labour Conferences. He urged the ASHA workers to continue their struggle for getting their demands.
Anu Rajput, secretary of Jammu ASHA Workers Union, said that ASHA workers working in almost all other states like Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh etc are paid more than Rs 10,000 per month but ASHAs who have been working in Jammu & Kashmir are getting a meagre remuneration of Rs 2,000 despite being put on 24 hour duty without leaves.
She said that the ASHAs are asked to conduct surveys, report the cases, get medical help for the infected, monitor the patients, follow up with the recovered ones and so on in addition to their vaccination duties which takes about 8-9 hours a day. She said that ASHA workers are the crucial link between the health system and the most vulnerable people living in far flung areas.
She strongly demanded that ASHAs be given Rs 21,000 minimum wage and social security benefits like pension, EPF, ESI and free medical treatment etc. She also called upon all the ASHAs of Jammu & Kashmir to continue their struggle till their demands are met.
Rita Devi, leader of ASHA Workers Union Jammu said that we have already submitted the memorandum to the state governor, mission director and to the administration. She urged the government to accept all genuine demands without any further delay. They demanded increase in remuneration from Rs 2000 to Rs 21,000 per month, annual increment in of Rs 1,000, special allowance of Rs 300 per day for conducting motivation and mobilisation campaign for Covid vaccination, allowance of Rs 500 per day for performing Covid duties and Rs 50 lakh ex-gratia to the dependents of ASHAs who had died on Covid duty. They also demanded to be covered under the insurance scheme of Rs 50 lakh for the frontline workers as announced by the government of India. They also demanded that no ASHA should be retired until and unless pension and other social security benefits are implemented for them, revision of all existing incentives to three times etc.
Others who spoke on this occasion include Muzaffar Wani, vice president of CITU, Jia Lal Parihar, Jagdish Sharma, secretaries, CITU, Nishat Kazi, leader of CITU, Gita Devi, treasurer ASHA Workers Union, Vaishno from block Nud, Rashma and Gita from block Samba, Reta from block Bhalwal, Reeta and Preeti Udhampur, Jyoti and Rampyari of block Kot, Reva and Neeta of block Katra, Jyoti and Pooja from block Bishna, Pushpa from block Panchairy, Kanta and Bimla from block Majalta and Sunita Bhagat.