Overworked, underpaid: Why govt is deaf to ASHA workers’ demands

ASHA workers protest low wages at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Photo: PTI

A fleet of women volunteers–Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs)–has revolutionised the last-mile health care system across the complex Indian landscape. In one of their many achievements they have ensured more and more women in rural India give birth in hospitals. Part of the National Health Mission (NHM), close to 9,00,000 such activists, more commonly identified as ASHA workers, criss-crossing the length and breadth of India have made a positive impact by ensuring that people listen to them while making critical decisions on family planning and immunisation services. Their voice for their own rights, however, has largely remained unheard.

On March 15, ASHA workers from Delhi, Haryana and Punjab held a protest march at Jantar Mantar......