Maha ASHA Workers End Strike After Pay Hike, COVID Allowance

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A week after they sat on protest, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday, 23 June, announced that ASHA workers in the state will get an increment of Rs 1,000 on their wages and Rs 500 as COVID-19 allowance per month.

He also added that they will get a smartphone and and an additional allowance of Rs 200 for crowd management duty at vaccination centres.

“The family members of ASHA workers who died due to COVID-19 will get a compensation of Rs 50 lakh. The data compilation work is going on and the government is trying to settle such claims at the earliest,” Tope told reporters.

Also Read: ‘We Overwork But Earn Less Than a Daily Wager’: ASHA Workers in UP

Around 68,000 ASHA workers across Maharashtra ended the protest, since 15 June, following the announcement. The state has around 71,867 ASHA workers that include 3,570 supervisors also known as ‘Gat Pravertak’.

Sevika Kruti Samiti President MA Patil has warned that they will continue the strike until demands are met.

They were receiving around Rs 5,000 per month that included Rs 1,000 as allowance for COVID duty from the Centre. The state ASHA Workers Action Committee had demanded to increase the honorarium up to Rs 18,000.

Having been at the forefront of India’s war against malnutrition, polio and several other health-related problems on ground, in 2020, approximately nine lakh ASHA workers joined the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic — distributing ration, helping in contact tracing, and spreading awareness around the virus.

However, despite being first in line of India’s defence against the virus, these women remain one of the most poorly paid communities of health workers, mostly because their work is considered to be voluntary and part-time.

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