No Plan to Give Govt Employees' Benefit to ASHAs: Vardhan

Government today said it has no proposal to give around 8.59 lakh Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) benefits enjoyed by government employees.

"Currently, there are 8.95 lakh ASHAs selected under the National Rural Health Mission. Under NHRM, ASHAs are given performance-based incentives in line with their role as honorary volunteers. There is no proposal to give them benefits like government employees," Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in Rajya Sabha during Question Hour.

Vardhan said their honorarium ranges between Rs 800 and Rs 3,000 per month.

He also said there are no reports, at least, in the last six months which suggest that they were not getting their due on time as 80 per cent of the ASHAs get paid directly to their bank accounts.

Vardhan said to enhance competency and professional credibility of ASHAs through knowledge and skill assessment, a proposal for certification of competencies of the ASHAs by the National Institute of Open Schooling has been approved.

In the guidelines issued at the time of launch of NHRM, class eight was set as the basic educational qualification for selection of ASHAs. Subsequently, in 2012, states were requested to give preference in selection to those women who are qualified up to 10 standard wherever they are interested and available in good numbers.

"However, states are allowed flexibility of relaxing the educational and age criteria, if no suitable woman with the set criterion and qualification is available in the area," he said.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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