NHRC Notice to Centre, States on 'Poor Working Conditions' of ASHA Workers

ASHA workers alleged that they are not receiving their dues and basic safety equipment despite working tirelessly at the frontlines during the pandemic in rural areas.

New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Centre and the states over allegations of “poor working conditions” of ASHA workers in the rural areas across the country, the rights panel said on Monday.

It has observed that the allegations of “poor working conditions”, if true, raise very crucial issues as the entire health management system of the vast rural population across India depends upon these ASHA workers.

“The NHRC has taken cognisance of a complaint that the ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers are not getting their dues and safety equipment despite being working on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic in the rural areas across the country,” a statement said.

Accordingly, it has issued notices to the secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and to the chief secretaries of the states to submit their reports on the issues raised in the complaint within six weeks, the rights panel said in the statement.

Therefore, the reports must carry the details on how many ASHA workers are working in each state, status and amount of remuneration and other dues paid to them during the pandemic, arrears due to them, health protection measures instituted for their protection to discharge their professional functions, it said.

The reports must also include facilities provided to these health workers and their families to protect health needs, compensation in the event of fatality incurred during discharge of duty, long term health insurance/ protection, social security/protection facilities as per the extant guidelines, it added.