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NEW DELHI: The joint platform of government flagship scheme workers will go on an all India strike on 24 September over long pending demands for safety, risk allowance, insurance coverage and regularization, minimum wages, and pension, central trade unions said Saturday.

Nearly 1 crore scheme workers including the anganwadi, Accredited Social Health Activists or ASHA, and mid-day meal workers are delivering the basic services of nutrition and health to the majority of the people, risking their lives during the pandemic. They are the link between the government and the people.

“Ten lakh ASHA workers and facilitators are performing round the clock duty, without leave; they are being asked to go door-to-door to conduct surveys, reporting [covid] cases, getting tests done, getting medical help to the infected, monitoring patients, follow up with the recovered ones, and so on. These are in addition to the vaccination duties for almost 8-9 hours a day. Nearly 26 lakh anganwadi workers and helpers under ICDS [Integrated Child Development Scheme] who are also performing similar duties along with ASHA workers and also distributing the ration door to door to the beneficiaries," the unions said.

Nearly 27 lakh mid-day meal workers supply ration door-to -oor to school going children and perform duties in community centres and quarantine centres. Many other workers under the National Health Mission (NHM) including the 108 Ambulance workers, are also performing their duty in the fight against covid 19, the unions claimed.

“But they are not provided with any safety equipments, even masks or sanitizers. They are not entitled to any risk allowance or compensation. The 50 lakh insurance coverage which the government declared with much fanfare did not reach most of the families of the scores of these frontline workers who lost their lives. The payment of the meager remuneration which is far below minimum wages ( 1,000 per month for 10 months in case of mid-day meal workers) is also pending since last 3-7 months in many states," the unions claimed.

The workers' unions added that the Central government is silent on the recommendations of the 45th Indian Labour Conference on regularisation, minimum wages and pension for the scheme workers. The Central government has not included scheme workers in the category of workers. Even for registration in the E Shram Portal, while some of the scheme workers are included, many others are left out, they said.

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