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Over 3 lakh ASHAs apply for Centre’s health cover

  • Prelims: Schemes (Health Section), Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs)
  • Mains: GS 2- Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Why in News ? / Recent reference to News 

  • The Indian government has decided to extend the Ayushman Bharat free public health cover scheme to include Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), as well as Anganwadi workers and helpers.
  • The Health Ministry has already collected Aadhaar details for 23 lakh Anganwadi personnel and over three lakh ASHA workers from different states. 


About Section / Facts 

  • Ministry: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
  • Govt schemes – The Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY)



About the News or main Topic

  • The Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) extends health coverage up to ₹5 lakh annually to poor and vulnerable families, recently expanded to include healthcare workers as announced by Finance Minister during the interim Union Budget 2024-25.
  • As of December 31, 2023, India had over 13 lakh Anganwadi workers, over 10 lakh helpers, and 9.83 lakh ASHAs, making it the largest community volunteer program globally.
  • Currently, 55 crore individuals across 12 crore families benefit from AB-PMJAY, with states/UTs expanding this at their expense.
  • Up to December 20, 2023, about 28.45 crore Ayushman cards have been issued, leading to 6.11 crore hospital admissions valued at ₹78,188 crore, including 1.7 crore admissions in 2023 worth over ₹25,000 crore.
  • The scheme has also achieved gender equity in healthcare access, with women making up about 49% of Ayushman cardholders and 48% of hospital admissions, across 26,901 empanelled hospitals, including 11,813 private ones.
  • About ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist)
  • ASHA is a social health activist in the age group of 25-45 years who serves as the first point of contact to cater any health-related requirements of deprived sections of the rural population including women and children, who pose a difficulty in accessing the health services.
  • An ASHA worker comes from the same village where she works. It ensures a sense of familiarity, better community connection and acceptance.
  • Generally, there is “1 ASHA per 1000 population”. However, this norm can be relaxed in tribal, hilly and desert areas to “1 ASHA per habitation” depending upon the workload.
    • India launched the ASHA programme in 2005-06 as part of the National Rural Health Mission.
    • With the launch of the National Urban Health Mission in 2013, the programme was extended to urban settings as well.
    • The core of the ASHA programme has been an intention to build the capacity of community members in taking care of their own health and being partners in health services.
    • The biggest inspiration for designing the ASHA programme came from the Mitanin initiative of Chhattisgarh (Mitanin meaning ‘a female friend’ in Chhattisgarhi) which had started in May 2002.

Source: TH

PYQ/ FAQ related to Topic: 


Q. With reference to National Rural Health Mission, which of the following are the jobs of ‘ASHA’ a trained community health worker?
1. Accompanying women to the health facility for antenatal care checkup
2. Using pregnancy test kits for early detection of pregnancy
3. Providing information on nutrition and immunization
4. Conducting the delivery of baby
Select the correct answer using the codes given below: 
A) 1, 2 and 3 only
B) 2 and 4 only
C) 1 and 3 only
D) 1, 2, 3 and 4


Ans : A) 1, 2 and 3 only


Explaination : 

  • India’s Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) program was established by the National Rural Health Mission in 2010 with an aim to improve health outcomes—particularly among women and children—and to reduce geographic and socioeconomic disparities.

Responsibilities of ASHA workers

  • Identifying and registering new pregnancies, births, and deaths.
  • Mobilizing, counselling and supporting the community to demand and seek health services.
  • Identifying, managing, or referring cases of illness.
  • Supporting health service delivery through home visits, first-aid and immunizations sessions.
  • Maintaining data and participating in community-level health planning.
  • Arrange escort/accompany pregnant women & children requiring treatment/ admission to the nearest pre-identified health facility i.e. Primary Health Centre/ Community Health Centre/ First Referral Unit (PHC/CHC /FRU). Hence statement 4 is incorrect.

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