ASHA, Anganwadi workers’ strike in India
On 24 September, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) and Anganwadi workers in India began their nationwide strike in states including Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. The ASHA workers are demanding job security, salary hike, insurance cover, and pension benefits in the day-long protest.
Anganwadi workers work in villages; they educate the pregnant women on a nutritional diet, upkeep of malnourished children, and lactating mothers.
These workers are daily coming in contact with many patients and are at risk of contracting coronavirus. Despite that, they aren’t getting their due incentives for coronavirus,” The Hindustan Times reported.
For health-related issues in the rural areas, ASHA workers are the first ones that come in contact with anyone with health issues in villages. They have played a significant role in bringing down infant and maternal mortality rates by helping institutional deliveries. Anganwadi workers successfully carry out the nutrition program for children as well.
They have been completing various tasks, conducting door to door surveys, contacting tracking, running mindfulness campaigns, and ensuring migrants get back from metropolitan cities to village quarantine themselves. Since they are recognized as volunteers and not full-time workers, they get an honorarium and not proper payment.
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However, the Center provides ₹4,500 each month towards their salary; many state governments likewise add extra, which is pretty low. ASHA workers were promised an extra ₹1,000 each month for participating in Covid duty. However, most states haven’t paid that additional sum.
The Indian Trade Union Congress (AITUC) congratulated the ASHA, Anganwadi workers and mid-day meal workers for the massive stand they took by conducting a nationwide strike for their rights”. They should be made permanent in government departments for which they serve.