The ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers of Andhra Pradesh on Monday staged a huge protest in Vijayawada, demanding that Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy fulfil the promises made before the elections and pay them a salary of Rs 10,000.
According to Indian Express, thousands of workers turned up for the protest at Lenin Centre from all over the state. The state government had issued an order earlier this month, increasing ASHA workersâ€™ salary from Rs 3,000 to Rs 10,000 per month. The revised salary was supposed to come into effect from August 1, 2019.
Although the orders have been issued, according to reports, workers have been protesting the grading system introduced in August, according to which workers will be categorised into three grades, A, B, and C. The workerâ€™s grades are said to depend on the services provided by them, and the salary is issued depending on their grading after review by district officials, which means only workers falling in category A can receive a payment of Rs 10,000.
According to The Hindu, ASHA workers union State General Secretary K. Dhanalakshmi said that the new rules create job insecurity, as consistently low grades can lead to the worker losing her job. She also said that the new rules require a matriculation certificate, which was not the case earlier.
Workers have also demanded that the dues in honorarium also be cleared immediately. According to The New Indian Express, the state officials of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) have responded to the protests, writing to district officials to issue the workersâ€™ payment on time.
Meanwhile, TNIE reported that several ASHA workers in Visakhapatnam who stage a sit-in at Gandhi Statue, and were to take part in the Vijayawada protest, were detained by the police. The police also reportedly filed cases against CITU (Centre of Indian Trade Unions) leaders. According to The Hindu, ASHA workers in West Godavari districtâ€™s Palakollu mandal were also detained by the police for protesting as a part of the same campaign.