KN Balagopal
KN Balagopal

Kerala allocates Rs 55 Cr for NHM employee salaries and ASHA worker incentives

The Left government in Kerala on Friday allocated Rs 55 crore for providing salary and incentives of employees of the Centrally-sponsored scheme National Health Mission (NHM) and ASHA workers respectively.

Thiruvananthapuram | The Left government in Kerala on Friday allocated Rs 55 crore for providing salary and incentives of employees of the Centrally-sponsored scheme National Health Mission (NHM) and ASHA workers respectively.

Announcing the decision, state Finance Minister K N Balagopal said that Rs 45 crore would be allocated for salary distribution and other expenses of NHM employees. Additionally, Rs 10 crore would be allocated for the incentive distribution to Asha workers.

Balagopal noted that NHM operates with a 60-40 funding split between the Central and state governments.

He said last year, the state government had to bear the full cost of the project.

"This year, the Central government approved a plan worth Rs 2,005 crore. However, it has yet to release Rs 329 crore earmarked for employees' salaries and related expenses. This amount is usually released in four instalments. However, not a single rupee has been allocated in the first instalment of this financial year," Balagopal lamented in a statement.

He said more than 14,000 employees, including doctors, are working under NHM in the state, in fields such as allopathy, Ayurveda, and homoeopathy. This includes doctors and paramedical staff. Additionally, there are 26,000 ASHA workers.

Last year, the Central government approved the project but failed to release any funds for employees' salaries and ASHA workers' honorarium, but the state government's assistance helped the project activities move forward, Balagopal said.

"This year, the same situation prevails. Currently, the salaries of employees and the incentives of ASHA workers are pending. In this critical situation, the state government has decided to provide emergency assistance," he said.