Formulate policy on NHM employees: Tarigami tells govt

Jammu: Senior CPI(M) leader and MLA M Y Tarigami Wednesday asked the government to formulate a policy to regularise the National Health Mission (NHM) employees who are on an indefinite strike for over a month.

“The strike of NHM staff has affected the health services to a large extent with patients facing a lot of inconvenience in rural as well as urban areas. The government must immediately formulate a policy to regularise them,” he said.

Tarigami said there was a “dire need” to chalk out a regularisation mechanism for the employees, including doctors, paramedical and management staff working under the NHM.

He said the NHM should be made a permanent health programme of the government with universal application and adequate financial allocation.

“The government must initiate a serious dialogue with NHM representatives to settle their issues instead of using force and adopting dally-delaying tactics,” the CPI(M) leader said.

He also raised the issue of ‘scheme workers’, including anganwadi, mini anganwadi workers and helpers under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), mid-day meal workers under the MDM scheme and ASHA workers under the NHM in the legislative assembly.

They were not recognised and are not paid minimum wages nor do they have any social security benefits, Tarigami said.

“In the name of ‘honorarium’ or ‘incentive’ they are paid a pittance as low as Rs 1,000 per month for 10 months a year (in the case of mid-day meal workers),” he said.

He said Finance minister Haseeb Drabu, during his reply on budget, had claimed that he has done very much for the welfare of employees.

“Then why is the government silent on the issues of anganwadi workers and helpers, ASHA workers, mid-day meal workers? Why isn’t government treating them as workers and fulfilling their genuine demands? Why is government silent on regularisation of these workers and enhancing their wages?” he asked.

The MLA said the government must consider the genuine demands of ASHAs which includes minimum wages of Rs 15,000 per month and all social security benefits like pension and gratuity.

Tarigami urged the government to implement the recommendations of the 45th Indian Labour Conference (ILC) on scheme workers – recognition as workers, minimum wages not less than Rs 18,000 per month and social security, including monthly pension not less than Rs 3,000 to all scheme workers, give coverage of EPF and ESI to scheme workers.

“The Contingency Paid Workers (CPWs) in education have been neglected so far. Their demands must be considered on priority. Not mere assurances but concrete measures need to be taken in this regard,” he said.

The CPI(M) leader said the government must take serious note of the brewing discontentment among these workers and take necessary action for the immediate fulfillment of their demands, failing which the NHM may get affected badly.

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