Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy increased the salaries of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) in the state from Rs 3,000 to Rs 10,000 per month on Monday. Reddy held a review meeting of the medical and health department at his camp office to initiate certain initiatives and bring in some changes in the health sector in the state.

ASHAs are health workers inducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as a part of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) that began in 2005.

Apart from hiking ASHA workers’ salaries, there are a few more changes that CM Reddy has brought about in the health department. He instructed renovation of 108 and 104 ambulance services and directed for vehicles to be kept fully operational. Healthcare program of “Arogyasri” has also been renamed as “YSR Arogyasri.”

“This is the priority department and I will directly supervise the performance of the department,” he said, NDTV reported.

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CM Reddy also asked for a performance report of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) and ambulances and stated that he wants to make government hospitals and PHCs better than private hospitals. He discussed vacant posts, financial requirements and infrastructure development of the sector.

He also asked the officials to take stern action in cases of spurious and low-quality medicines and ordered a review of the tendering policies for purchase of medical equipment, medicines, and other amenities. The Chief Minister asked officials to check why seats in government medical colleges were not increased.

CM Reddy fulfilled his assembly election promised to ASHA workers within a few days of being elected and raised their salaries by more than 300%. In September 2018, the central government had announced the doubling of routine incentives given by the Union Government to ASHA workers. Modi government had declared a rise in the honorarium given to Anganwadi workers from Rs 3000 to Rs 4500.

He was elected as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on May 30 after his party won 151 seats of 175 leaving only 23 seats to Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

CM Reddy fulfilled his assembly election promised to ASHA workers within a few days of being elected and raised their salaries by more than 300%. In September 2018, the central government had announced the doubling of routine incentives given by the Union Government to ASHA workers. Modi government had declared a rise in the honorarium given to Anganwadi workers from Rs 3000 to Rs 4500.

In October 2018, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had approved an increase in supervisory visit charges for ASHA Facilitators from Rs 250 per visit to Rs 300 per visit for 2018-2019 to 2019- 2020 benefitting over 40,000 workers.

Last year, ASHA workers across the country staged protests and came together in large groups to claim wage hike. In July 2018 over 20,000 ASHA workers gathered from all parts of Haryana in Karnal, the assembly constituency of CM Manohar Lal Khattar, to hold a strike against low wages.

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