(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
September 27, 2009
The Sixth All
sixth conference of the
All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH) will be
October 9 � 12, 2009 in
is to be recalled
that the Anganwadi Mulajam Union,
of members of
Anganwadi Mulajam Union, Punjab are already actively involved in
funds, distributing leaflets, pasting posters, holding group meetings
anganwadi employees in different projects and meeting people to explain
the importance of ICDS, the struggles of AIFAWH to save ICDS and
improve the working conditions of the anganwadi employees and seek
support. They are receiving very encouraging response not only from the
anganwadi employees, but from the people of
venue of the conference
located in Bhakna Bhawan in
start with a massive procession and rally in
The conference will be inaugurated by Mohammed Amin. More than 600 delegates and observers from 23 states in the country, representing more than 3.87 lakh members, are expected to participate in the conference. Kanai Bannerjee, secretary of CITU who has been associated with AIFAWH since the last many years, will participate in the conference.
Though most of the anganwadi employees are educated, they find it difficult to follow the reports and documents in English. Hence it has been decided to print all the drafts of the conference in English and Hindi. Besides, for the benefit of the delegates from non Hindi speaking states, the drafts have been sent to the state committees for translation into local languages and distribution to the delegates for better participation in the deliberations.
The discussions will focus on the state of the Integrated Child Development Services programme, the conditions of the anganwadi employees in the country, the struggles launched by the AIFAWH and its affiliated unions in different states and the experiences.
The fifth conference of AIFAWH has called for intensifying the struggles and strengthening the organisation. It has directed all the state committees to link up Sangharsh, Siksha and Sangathan in their activities and to concentrate on developing conscious, committed and capable cadres to strengthen the organisation.
The AIFAWH tried to implement these directions of the last conference during this period with a special focus on the Hindi speaking states. Several big campaigns and struggles were organised in the intervening period with large mobilisations of anganwadi employees, both at the national level as well as in the states. The Federation tried to highlight the importance of ICDS in ensuring the rights of the children for food, health and education. It has made efforts to develop a broader movement by involving the beneficiaries in the struggle to universalise the ICDS. It has collected more than two crore signatures, mostly from the beneficiaries, on a memorandum to the prime minister demanding universalisation of ICDS, opposing its privatisation and improvement of the conditions of anganwadi employees. A joint national convention followed by state level conventions were held opposing privatisation of ICDS. More than two lakh booklets were printed and distributed in different languages to create awareness among the people on the need to save ICDS.
ten day mass relay
hunger strike in which thousands of anganwadi employees sat through day
night at Jantar Mantar in
In addition to these national level struggles, thousands of anganwadi employees in almost all the states participated in big struggles organised by the state committees of AIFAWH. In many states including Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Punjab and others they had to face severe attacks by the police including lathi charge, arrests, implication in false cases, victimisation by the officers and the government, while participating in the struggles on their demands. Because of the sustained struggles, the state governments were forced to agree to some of the demands including increase in the remuneration, provision of some welfare benefits etc. But most important, these struggles created confidence among the anganwadi employees on their united strength and enhanced their self respect. Today, in many states, the unions affiliated to AIFAWH have earned the recognition as fighting organisations of the anganwadi employees.
also tried to
strengthen the struggle against the anti people policies of the
involving the anganwadi employees in the campaigns and struggles of
the joint trade union movement. Anganwadi employees participated in the
campaigns and struggles including the all
COMES DOWN GRADUALLY
of these efforts,
the membership and influence of AIFAWH has been increasing. The
the Federation has increased by more than 68 per cent since the last
with almost all the states, particularly the Hindi speaking states
an impressive increase in the membership. Even in states like
At the same time, many of anganwadi employees who participate in the activities are not enrolled as members due to the organisational weakness. The consciousness of the activists in most of the states is very low, even as their commitment to the organisation is high. Unless their consciousness is raised, this commitment cannot be sustained.
Even though AIFAWH is undoubtedly the most active organisation of the anganwadi employees in the country, the membership constitutes only around 19.5 per cent of the total anganwadi employees in the country. There is severe lack of cadres in many states. The decision to reorient the work of the Federation and its state committees to be able to utilise the existing opportunities and expand the organisation, could not be fully carried out.
experiences of the
Federation and its state committees in implementing the direction of
the fifth conference
will be discussed in depth in the
The conference will also discuss four important issues � �ICDS � Making Results Meet Expectations�, �Social Security Benefits for Anganwadi Employees�, �ICDS IV�, and �Democratic Functioning� � in four commissions, in each of which around 150 delegates are expected to participate.
Seminar on �ICDS and
Human Development� will be organised on
October 10 in which Brinda Karat, Politburo member of CPI (M)
of the parliamentary standing committee on human development, Tapan
secretary of CITU and Prabhat Patnaik, deputy chairman of the state
board of Kerala will participate. The seminar will be presided over by
Maitra. On October 11, a book on the major struggles launched by AIFAWH
affiliated unions in different states and the achievements along with
relevant government orders will be released by Andre Bogui, deputy
ILO sub regional office for South Asia in
A photo exhibition of the struggles conducted by the different state committees of AIFAWH will also be organised at the venue. M K Pandhe, president of CITU will conclude the conference on October 12.