The ASHA workers also urged the government to immediately release insurance funds for those who had succumbed to COVID-19.

Three AASHA workers holding a poster with a list of their demands
news Protest Monday, May 24, 2021 - 15:38

Demanding the immediate release of pending honorariums and insurance money, ASHA workers in Karnataka went on a one-day ‘online strike’ on Monday boycotting their duties. The frontline workers have not been paid for two months, they allege. The protesting workers have also demanded that the government provide Rs 5000 as a COVID-19 relief package to all ASHA workers, as announced for other healthcare workers.

The protest was led by Karnataka Rajya Samyukta ASHA  Karyakarteyara Sangha. Other demands include providing a minimum of Rs 25,000 as medical compensation for workers suffering from COVID-19 as well as ensuring supply of masks, hand sanitisers, gloves and other safety equipment. According to the workers, over 1000 of them so far have tested positive for coronavirus.

Stating that the government is yet to compensate the families of ASHA workers who died last year during the first wave of COVID-19, they demanded the government to immediately release Rs 50 lakh in insurance funds.

With confusion prevailing over the role and responsibility of an ASHA worker, the workers have demanded a Government Order listing the tasks designated to them. Last week, the workers had warned that they would strike, and had appealed to the government to make necessary intervention. However, the government paid no heed to them, and the workers went ahead with the protest.

Karnataka Rajya Samyukta ASHA Karyakartheyara Sangha, State secretary D Nagalakshmi said that she had given representations to the Health Commissioner, Mission Director of National Health Mission, and State ASHA Programme Officer, who had assured that the dues would be cleared but have not lived up to the promise.  

Health Commissioner KV Trilok Chandra had earlier claimed that the fixed honorarium was being paid regularly but they could not pay incentives due to Direct Bank Transfer. The Commissioner assured that they would resolve the issue by Monday.