News: When the woman in a rural area of Karnataka was going into labour at 3 a.m. on Thursday, she knew the number to call. It was that of Rajeevi, 53, an autorickshaw driver and an accredited social health activist (ASHA) too.
Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) is a trained female community health activist. Selected from the community itself and accountable to it, the ASHA will be trained to work as an interface between the community and the public health system.
The ASHA scheme is presently in place in 33 states (except Goa, Chandigarh & Puducherry).
In rural areas
ASHA must primarily be a woman resident of the village married/ widowed/ divorced, preferably in the age group of 25 to 45 years.
She should be a literate woman with due preference in selection to those who are qualified up to 10 standard wherever they are interested and available in good numbers. This may be relaxed only if no suitable person with this qualification is available.
ASHA will be chosen through a rigorous process of selection involving various community groups, self-help groups, Anganwadi Institutions, the Block Nodal officer, District Nodal officer, the village Health Committee and the Gram Sabha.
In urban areas
ASHA must be a woman resident of the – “slum/vulnerable clusters” and belong to that particular vulnerable group which have been identified by City/District Health Society for selection of ASHA.
She should be preferably ‘Married/Widow/Divorced/Separated’ and preferably in the age group of 25 to 45 years.
ASHA should have effective communication skills with language fluency of the area/population she is expected to cover,leadership qualities and be able to reach out to the community.
She should be a literate woman with formal education of at least Tenth Class. If there are women with Class XII who are interested and willing they should be given preference since they could later gain admission to ANM/GNM schools as a career progression path.
The educational and age criteria can be relaxed if no suitable woman with this qualification is available in the area and among that particular vulnerable group.
A balance between representation of marginalized and education should be maintained.
She should have family and social support to enable her to find the time to carry out her tasks.
Adequate representation from disadvantaged population groups should be ensured to serve such groups better.
Existing women Community workers under other schemes like-urban ASHAs or link workers under NRHM or RCH II, JnNURM, SJSRY etc. may be given preference provided they meet the residency, age and educational criteria mentioned above and are able to provide time for their activities.
There is one Community Health Volunteer i.e. ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) for every village with a population of 1000. The States have been given the flexibility to relax the population norms as well as the educational qualifications on a case to case basis, depending on the local conditions as far as her recruitment is concerned.
Role: The role of an ASHA is that of a community level care provider. This includes a mix of tasks: facilitating access to health care services, building awareness about health care entitlements especially amongst the poor and marginalized, promoting healthy behaviours and mobilizing for collective action for better health outcomes and meeting curative care needs as appropriate to the organization of service delivery in that area and compatible with her training and skills.
2. ROLE OF GOVERNOR
News: In a sharp criticism of the Rajasthan High Court order that stayed the Rajasthan Assembly Speaker’s disqualification notice to dissident lawmakers of the party, and of Governor Kalraj Mishra refusing to act on the advice of the State government, former Law Minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Friday said the country is “witnessing a new definition of democracy”.
About the Governor:
The Governors of the states of India have similar powers and functions at the state level as that of the President of India at Union level. Governors exist in the states while lieutenant governors or administrator exist in union territories including National Capital Territory of Delhi. The governor acts as the nominal head whereas the real power lies with the Chief ministers of the states and his/her councils of ministers. Although in union Territories real power lies in lieutenant governor or administrator, except in NCT of Delhi, Puducherry and Jammu and Kashmir where he/she shares power with a council of ministers headed by a chief minister.
In India, a lieutenant governor is in charge of a union territory. However, the rank is present only in the union territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Puducherry (the other territories have an administrator appointed, who is usually an IAS officer or a retired judge of a court). However, the governor of Punjab acts as the administrator of Chandigarh. Although lieutenant governors do not hold the same rank as a governor of a state in the list of precedence.
The governors and lieutenant governors are appointed by the president for a term of five years.
Removal: The term of governor’s office is normally 5 years but it can be terminated earlier by:
Dismissal by the president (usually on the advice of the prime minister of the country) at whose pleasure the governor holds office. Dismissal of Governors without valid reason is not permitted. However, it is the duty of the President to dismiss a Governor whose acts are upheld by courts as unconstitutional and malafide
Resignation by the governor
There is no provision for impeachment, unlike with the President of India, Judges of High courts and the supreme court of India and Chief election commissioner.
Article 157 and Article 158 of the Constitution of India specify eligibility requirements for the post of governor. They are as follows: A governor must:
be a [citizen of India].
be at least 35 years of age.
not be a member of the either house of the parliament or house of the state legislature.
not hold any office of profit.
The primary function of the governor is to preserve, protect and defend the constitution and the law as incorporated in his/her oath of office under Article 159 of the Indian constitution in the administration of the State affairs. All his/her actions, recommendations and supervisory powers (Article 167c, Article 200, Article 213, Article 355, etc.) over the executive and legislative entities of a State shall be used to implement the provisions of the Constitution.
The Constitution vests in the governor all the executive powers of the state government. The governor appoints the chief minister, who enjoys the support of the majority in the State Legislative Assembly.
The governor also appoints the other members of the Council of Ministers and distributes portfolios to them on the advice of the chief minister.
The Council of Ministers remain in power during the ‘pleasure’ of the governor, but in the real sense it means the pleasure of obtaining majority in the Legislative Assembly. As long as the majority in the State Legislative Assembly supports the government, the Council of Ministers cannot be dismissed.
The governor appoints the chief minister of a state. He or she also appoints the Advocate General and the chairman and members of the State Public Service Commission. Apart from this, State Election Commissioner is also appointed by the Governor (though removed by the President).
The president consults the governor in the appointment of judges of the High Courts and the governor appoints the judges of the District Courts.
All administrations are carried on his or her name, he or she also has the power to appoint staff for his or her tenure in class one and class four as per constitution of India.
The Governor of the state by virtue of his or her office is also the Chancellor of most of the Universities in the State.
The state head summons the sessions of both houses of the state legislature and prorogues them. The governor can even dissolve the State Legislative Assembly. These powers are formal and the governor’s use of these powers must comply with the advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister.
The governor inaugurates (to dedicate) the state legislature by addressing it after the assembly elections and also at the beginning of the first session every year. The governor’s address on these occasions generally outlines new policies of the state government. A bill that the state legislature has passed, can become a law only after the governor gives assent. The governor can return a bill to the state legislature, if it is not a money bill, for reconsideration. However, if the state legislature sends it back to the governor for the second time, the governor must assent to it. The governor has the power to reserve certain bills for the president.
When the state legislature is not in session and the governor considers it necessary to have a law, then the governor can promulgate ordinances. These ordinances are submitted to the state legislature at its next session. They remain valid for no more than six weeks from the date the state legislature is reconvened unless approved by it earlier.
Governor is empowered under Article 192 to disqualify a member of a House of the State legislature when the election commission recommends that the legislator is no longer complying with provisions of Article 191.
When no party gets a clear majority, the governor has discretion to choose a candidate for chief minister who will put together a majority coalition as soon as possible.
He can impose president’s rule.
He submits reports on his own to the president or on the direction of the president regarding the affairs of the state.
He can withhold his assent to a bill and send it to the president for his approval.
During emergency rule per Article 353, he can override the advice of the council of ministers if specifically permitted by the president.