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High Incentives for Asha and Aganwadi Workers; Declared PM Modi

More than 24 lakh workers of the accredited health centers (Ashas) and Aganwadi will be benefitted from a hike in their honorariums from next month- announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over video-conferencing with these workers on Tuesday.

The hike will almost double the minimum monthly income earned by an Asha worker from Rs.1000 to Rs.2000. There are over 24 lakh of them, mainly women, who attend to health and nutrition needs of mostly women and children.

Anganwadis who now draw an honorarium of Rs 3,000 will get Rs 4,500, and those who get Rs 2,200 will get Rs 3,500. The monthly honorarium of Anganwadi helpers will go up from Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,500.

The revision will come into effect from October 1 — the PM called it their “Diwali gift.”

All Asha workers will also be brought under the coverage of various social security schemes and will get Rs 2-lakh free insurance cover under Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Prime Minister Suraksha Bima Yojana.

“This historic decision by Prime Minister will benefit about 27 lakh Anganwadi and 12 lakh Asha workers across the country. Our heartiest congratulations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this,” said Virjesh Upadhyay, General Secretary of BMS, adding that it had been agitating for this demand since November 2014.

The remuneration expenditure is shared in a 60:40 ratio between Centre and states according to the terms of National Health Mission.

The Centre incurs an expenditure of Rs 800 crore for the payment of Asha workers while the amounts rolls down to approximately Rs 533 crore for the states.

Anganwadi workers fall under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme administered by the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry. The WCD Ministry’s rough estimates suggest that the Centre will pick up the tab of Rs 3,000 crore for the enhanced payments to Anganwadi workers. For states, at the same 60:40 ratio, the annual increase in expenditure will be an estimated Rs 2,000 crore, the ministry has calculated.

As for the premium for the two insurance programmes, these will be paid entirely by the Centre.

The annual premium for Suraksha Bima Yojana is Rs 330 and that for PM Jeevan Jyoti Yojana is Rs 12.

During his interaction, which is a part of the Rashtriya Poshan Maah celebrations, Modi said that PM Jan Arogya Yojana, the Rs 5-lakh health cover programme for 10.74 crore families, will be launched from Jharkhand on September 23 and the beneficiaries have already been identified.

Highlighting the link between health and growth of the country, the Prime Minister said if children are weak then the nation’s growth would also slow down. Taking examples from India’s performance at the recent Asian Games, he said it was the hard work of frontline health workers that had ensured that children born of poor parents turned out to be champions.

He asked Asha and Anganwadi workers from Nandurbar, a district in northwest Maharashtra bordering Gujarat, whether a tea stall that he once frequented once is still up and running.