Unpaid bonuses, irregular incentives: Pandemic is not the only battle for ‘mitanins’ in Chhattisgarh

Surekha Dhivar (41) has not missed work for a single day in nearly a yr. A mitanin working in Raipur, she went door-to-door to scan over 200 homes in her space for practically three months, checking on susceptible teams for Covid-like signs. Nonetheless, regardless of fulfilling a number of roles in the battle towards the pandemic, Dhivar is amongst greater than 70,000 mitanins throughout the state who’re but to obtain the full cost of the promised Covid bonus, in addition to irregular disbursement of task-based incentives.

A mitanin – which implies “feminine buddy” in the native dialect – is a group well being volunteer assigned to every village underneath the Chhattisgarh authorities’s well being programme.

In Chhattisgarh, the Nationwide Well being Mission, in April, promised Rs 1,000 as further incentive however the mitanins have been only paid for two months. Based on sources, the cash to be paid to a mitanin comes from each state and Central share.

In Dantewada’s Toyalanka, in addition to checking up on kids, pregnant moms and the aged, Bindu Sodhi (45) additionally needed to hold a vigil at quarantine facilities, whereas conducting door-to-door scanning in semi-urban areas and taking individuals with signs for assessments as wanted. And now, with the authorities rolling out the Covid vaccination programme, Sodhi and different mitanins are additionally accompanying the aged to the vaccination facilities — usually distant and at their very own price.

Nonetheless, not like different vaccinations which discover a point out in the declare kind submitted by mitanins as duties on which they’re incentivised, the Covid-19 inoculation is not listed.

“Simply because I’m not going to get cash for it, I can’t flip individuals down,” Dhivar mentioned. However her household of 4 is faring poorly, she mentioned. “I’ve been managing in some way. The periodic cash of Rs 3,400 would come by the tenth of each month. Not only have we not gotten the Rs 1,000 Covid bonus promised for all the months of Covid-related work, I haven’t been paid even for February,” she mentioned.

Sodhi mentioned, “In April, we have been instructed that we’d get Rs 1000 additional for Covid-19 duties. We obtained paid Rs 2,000 in September and that was it.”

The Extra Secretary and Mission Director of the Nationwide Well being Mission launched a letter in March final yr, stating that “further incentives for ASHAs and ASHA facilitator have been authorized for three months from April to June”. One other letter by the mission director in April that yr acknowledged that “further incentives could also be paid to ASHAs for Covid-related work, from the interval of their engagement in this work”.

Whereas the letter acknowledged the stipulated interval from January 1, 2020, in Chhattisgarh, the authorities determined to pay for only three months, April by way of June. Regardless that funds for two months have been launched in most circumstances, mitanins and rights activists consider they deserve extra. “It’s not that the work ended in June. We’ve got labored for the total yr and even now, in a way or the different to maintain the pandemic at bay,” Sodhi mentioned.

The mitanins wrote a memorandum to the well being minister and Chief Minister in November. “We don’t need the coconut they offer us on the Mitanin Diwas. We wish cash promised to us. The Congress authorities promised in their manifesto a minimal cost of Rs 5,000, we’re not getting anyplace near that,” Dhivar mentioned.

Whereas Chhattisgarh NHM Mission Director Priyanka Shukla did not reply to queries, Well being Minister T S Singh Deo mentioned, “In Emergency Covid-19 Response Plan, we obtained approval for three months, that is why we’ve made cost for two months and process for cost of third month is underneath course of… The mitanins are one among the a number of grassroots employees who’ve been working relentlessly all through the Covid-19 scenario. The Central authorities wants to make sure that funds are allotted for the Covid warriors.”

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