Over 9.29 lakh ASHAs deployed for containing transmission of COVID-19: Govt

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New Delhi, Feb 9 (PTI) The Centre on Tuesday informed Rajya Sabha that 9,29,097 Accredited Social Health Activists have been deployed across the country for containing the local transmission of COVID-19.

Under the National Health Mission, ASHAs are envisaged to be community health volunteers and are entitled only to task and activity based incentives, Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey said in a written reply.

In the 2018-19 fiscal, the Union Cabinet revised the amount of incentive for ASHAs from Rs 1,000 to 2,000 per month, he said while elaborating on the measures taken by the government to empower them.

In addition to routine and recurring incentives, many states and union territories also introduced fixed monthly honorarium for ASHAs from their respective budgets, the minister said. The government of India has been taking various measures to empower and secure the working of ASHAs from time to time, he said.

In 2018, the ASHA benefit package was introduced acknowledging their significant contribution and commitment, Choubey said. The package provides coverage under the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Beema Yojana (premium of Rs 330 is contributed by the Centre), the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Beema Yojana (premium of Rs 12 is contributed by Centre) and the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan Dhan Yojana (50 pre cent contribution of premium is by the Centre and 50 per cent by the beneficiaries), according to the reply.

Under the recently launched Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, an insurance scheme has been introduced for all health workers, including ASHAs. This scheme provides an insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh in case of loss of life on account of COVID-19 related duty, Choubey said.

Besides, states and union territories have been asked to ensure provision of safety tools like masks and sanitisers for ASHAs, he said.

To increase the competency and professional credibility of ASHAs, there is also a certification programme and 36,544 ASHAs have been certified till February 5 under the programme, according to the reply. PTI PLB ANB ANB