People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 17, 2008
TUs Say No To Public-Private In ICDS
Three central trade unions, viz the CITU, AITUC and HMS, has jointly issued the following statement from New Delhi on February 12.
THE central trade unions and affiliated federations of Anganwadi workers and helpers strongly oppose the contemplated move the women and child development ministry, government of India, to introduce public private partnership (PPP) in the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme which addresses the serious issues like malnutrition, infant mortality, maternal mortality etc among children and women, particularly those belonging to the poorer sections of society.
Resorting to back door privatisation in the name of public private partnership finally means collection of users' charges from the beneficiaries of the most crucial welfare scheme in the country. This has been proved in the health and education sectors, where the government has been withdrawing from its responsibility and promoting privatisation in the garb of the PPP.
In spite of the much-touted fast economic growth of the country in the last few years, India continues to be in the company of the least developed countries in Human Development Indicators. A country, which disregards investment in human development, cannot dream of becoming an advanced nation. It only proves the apathy of the government towards the poor children and women of the country that the government has no financial resources to universalise ICDS as per its commitment in the NCMP, while there is no dearth of resources to shower lakhs of crores worth ‘incentives' and concessions to the national and multinational corporations. Experiences shows that the private players will be more interested in promoting their commercial interests in the rural areas than concerned about the well being of the children and mothers. The Anganwadi workers and helpers will be utilised to work as their agents in the interior areas, which will adversely affect the functioning of the Anganwadi centres.
The trade unions demand the government to scrap the PPP move and allot at least Rs 12,000 crore for ICDS in the ensuing budget towards fulfilling its NCMP's commitment of universalising the ICDS. It also demands that out of this, Rs 2,500 crore should be specifically allotted to enhance the remuneration of the anganwadi workers and helpers and improve their working conditions.
The signatories to the statement are: Tapan Sen (CITU), Amarjeet Kaur (AITUC) and R A Mittal (HMS).