The British daily twists facts on India’s Asha workers and healthcare system


The Telegraph said Ashas earn around £16 a month with their pay topped up when they perform certain tasks – for example £3 for ensuring a woman in a rural area gives birth in a hospital or £1 for signing a baby up to receive a polio vaccination.

Real Picture:

On an average Ashas (Accredited Social Health Activists) are paid Rs 5000 (49.63 Pound Sterling) per month. However, in Indian states like Kerala and Karnataka, they are paid Rs 10,000 (99.38 Pound Sterling); in Andhra Pradesh, Asha workers get Rs 7000 (69.57 Pound Sterling); in Telangana too, they get Rs 7000 (69.57 Pound Sterling); in Maharashtra, they are paid Rs 6500 (64.60 Pound Sterling). They are also given incentives ranging from Rs 250 (2.48 Pound Sterling) to Rs 500 (4.97 Pound Sterling) on the basis of their performance. In September 2018, the Central government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a substantial increase in the remuneration of ASHA an Angawadi workers. In addition to this, the Prime Minister had announced the doubling of routine incentives to ASHA. Besides, he had announced providing them free insurance cover under Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojna and Prime Minister Suraksha Bima Yojna.

Read the complete article in The Hindustan Times


The Telegraph said over 200 omicron cases have been detected in India, but Ashas are unlikely to ever know, due to the lack of genome sequencing in the country.

Real Picture:

India is quite efficient in terms of genome sequencing laboratories. In fact, healthcare systems in India are advanced enough to provide data for scientists and researchers. The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) is consortium of 28 National Laboratories to monitor the genomic variations in Covid-19 viruses. It monitors the genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2 by a sentinel sequencing effort and helps to comprehend the evolution and spread of the virus. Given the rise in omicron cases, many states in the country have started to set up genome sequencing laboratories.

Read the complete article in The Sunday Guardian:

The Telegraph said the women make up India’s one million strong army of accredited social health activists (Ashas) – the backbone of the country’s creaking public health system Claim:

The Telegraph said the women make up India’s one million strong army of accredited social health activists (Ashas) – the backbone of the country’s creaking public health system, bringing healthcare to the poorest and most marginalised. And they have now been drafted onto the front-line against Covid.

Real Picture:

Indeed, Ashas are the backbone of India’s care system but to say that the country has a creaking public health system is a sweeping statement. Rather the fact is that over the months, especially after Covid-19 pandemic hit India hard, efforts have been made to improve health care infrastructure in the country. Recently, the Indian government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $300 million loan to strengthen and improve access to comprehensive primary health care in urban areas of 13 states that will benefit over 256 million urban dwellers including 51 million from slum areas.

The Fifteenth Finance Commission has accorded special attention to health infra and workforce, commitment to revamp the health system in India. And it was clearly conveyed in the 2021 budget. The Digital Health Mission and Health Infrastructure Mission followed, under the umbrella of Ayushman Bharat. They aim to strengthen rural and urban primary healthcare, expand critical care hospital capacity and establish robust surveillance systems for infectious diseases, ranging from block level labs to regionally distributed National Institutes of Virology. District hospitals will be strengthened, new medical colleges established and allied health workers will be trained in large numbers.

Read the complete article in Mint: