The Indian Labour Conference

Another important issue that the ASHA workers have now started raising is that the honorarium being given to them is not commensurate with their skill and labour. In fact, less skilled and less risky 8-hour jobs are being paid much more by employers. They have also begun to raise the issue of coverage of ASHA workers under the Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana or Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. They have also demanded that their work be clearly defined, so that they are not at the beck-and-call of Officials.




The 45th session of the Indian Labour Conference (ILC) discussed the status of ASHAs and proposed to the government that they be treated as employees of the government and not voluntary workers4. This recommendation of the 45th ILC is yet to be accepted. The Standing Labour Committee relented from including the issues of ASHA workers and other para-workers in the 45th ILC in 2013 and the sad reality was that the unions let go of the opportunity without a vigorous discussion or forcing the ILC to adopt strong resolutions.
The unions should work hard to get even the diluted proposals implemented and try to get stronger resolutions passed in future bipartite occasions as the employer here is the government. Meanwhile, the Centre rejected the ILC recommendation of paying minimum wage to ASHA Workers5 Many demands are still pending, for example:
· The ASHAs should also be entitled for six months maternity leave and other maternity benefits.
· There should be separate restrooms with privacy and adequate security for ASHA workers in all medical establishments to which they take women for delivery and treatment at all odd hours.
· There should be improved transportation facilities and interest-free loans for two-wheelers.
· Effective mechanism to curb sexual harassment not only at the workplace defined narrowly as the clinical centre but also while on work and visiting villages too.
· Stringent punishment should be meted out under special provisions to be incorporated in relevant laws.
· In many States, the dues of ASHA workers are cleared after 3 or 4 months and the government should put in place a system wherein the dues can be cleared the same month.
· Irrespective of the performance-based incentives/allowances, some minimum subsistence allowance should be entitled to them.
· Health officials and even ANMs taking unofficial cuts from the allowances of ASHA workers should be made a penal offence with stringent punishment and all remuneration of the ASHA workers should be directly credited to their bank accounts.
These are some of the demands raised in different states by Left-led Trade Unions, but so far no All-India Association of ASHA workers has been formed, which is the need of the hour.

Mayank Rai

Hi, My name is Mayank Rai. I found that Blogging is an easiest way to share your knowledge with everyone & learn something new from there. facebook telegram

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