ASHA workers have been protesting from May of this year and have yet to receive their salaries
ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers from Bangalore Urban district and those under BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) complained that they are unable to receive incentive payments from the Central Government due to technical issues with the Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) portal. They do not want to work with the portal.
The RCH office staff agreed that the portal faces server issues some times, which makes it difficult for the health officers to access the portal.
Rama TC, General Secretary, Karnataka Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Association, said, “The portal is in place for four years. From the time of the launch of portal we have been facing problems. Karnataka is the only state that has implemented RCH portal. Due to the technical issues faced by the portal, we have become the scapegoat.”
The ASHA workers receive incentive payments from the Central government. This payment is dependent on data fed to the RCH portal. The portal was launched to aid in reproductive and child healthcare facilities. The Primary Health Centers must feed data in the portal, regarding health of new born mother and child and vaccination status of all children below age 14. Rama said, “On the fifth of every month the workers receive their fixed salary of Rs. 5000 from the state government. After this, within a week they receive their incentive payments as well. But for the last three months they have not been receiving both.”
Farhana, an ASHA worker said, “It’s been three months since we have received our salary. How can we pay our children’s fees or rent? They pay us only Rs.5000 and on top of that they don’t give us the amount. How can we survive like this?”
The State government has not been paying the ASHA workers their due from August citing technical issues. Each district health officer has a unique ID and password they must use to file information on the work done by the workers. The workers get their payment based on this. If a DHO changes they must change their pin again. This technical problem is causing the delay in payments, the state government says.
ASHA workers also demand to be categorized as D group (employees who come under Rs 5200-20200 pay band) employees and get a fixed salary of Rs. 12,000 from the state government. This is because many of them are overworked and not paid for working over time.
ASHA workers have been protesting at Freedom Park from May of this year. However, they have not received any response from the government. Today, the organizers of the protest, All India United Trade Union Center, have pressurized the police and special bureau officials to make the health commissioner attend the protest. The District Health Officer, later attended the protest and said all arrears will be cleared in seven days and they will hold a meeting with the workers to resolve any other issues.