16:42 GMT +317 January 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): India’s federal Health Ministry launched a scheme named the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) to supplement the efforts of healthcare facilities. ASHA workers are selected from their respective villages and trained to work as an interface between the community and the public health system.

    Tens of thousands of ASHA workers held a huge rally in India’s IT-Hub, Bengaluru, the capital of the southern state of Karnataka, on Friday, demanding a hike in their monthly wages to around 12,000 INR (approximately $200).  They are currently being paid a fee ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 INR ($14-28 approximately).

    “Only around Rs 2,000 is being paid a month. Even as we are part of the major state and national health scheme implementation, we have not been paid our due. We want all that is due to be cleared first", said Nagalakshmi B., one of the protesters.

    Another major demand includes de-linking of the Reproductive Child Health (RCH) portal from ASHA Soft – an online portal that details the services provided by a worker to the community and facilitates online payment.

    Workers argue that details entered by the data operators were either delayed or incorrect which results in delayed payments. The system was introduced by the federal government.

    The Karnataka government, however, said, that it was difficult to set a fixed honorarium, as the payment of ASHA workers was performance-based. Karnataka’s Health Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey told media, “There is no question of getting delayed payment due to incorrect data entry on the portal as they have simplified the process of data entry and one person has been assigned for every four ASHA workers”.

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