People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 36

September 08, 2013





Anganwadi Employees Protest

In Support of Their Demands


ADDRESSING a protest demonstration of the anganwadi workers and helpers at Sher-e-Kashmir Park in Srinagar on September 4, K Hemalata, vice-president of the All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH) expressed serious concern over the non-allocation of adequate financial resources for the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) to improve the condition of anganwadi workers and helpers. Instead, she said, the government of India has decided to run ICDS in a mission mode which means after concentrating on it for some time, it will be stopped.


Hemalata said the ICDS has been playing an important role in reducing malnutrition, but the government’s apathetic attitude has been creating hurdles. “Besides privatisation of nursery schools for pre-school education, the government has decided to privatise 10% of the ICDS projects by handing them over to NGO’s and corporates. There is no provision for increasing the wages of anganwadi workers and helpers or providing them with social security benefits. But the mission says that the anganwadi workers and helpers should be retired at the age of 65 Years,” she said.


Hemalata observed that because of the efforts of the CITU, the Indian Labour Conference (45th Session) has discussed the conditions of the scheme workers including anganwadi workers and helpers, ASHA’s etc as an agenda. They should be recognised as workers, paid minimum wages and social security benefits, but the government is not ready to implement these recommendations. The All India Federation is fighting against this attitude of government. A black day was observed on July 10 and the Federation has decided to continue the struggle by holding conventions along with the beneficiary organisations involving the people at state and district level and also through big mobilisations all over the country. It has also decided to participate in the joint trade union programmes on September 25 and December 12, she said. 


Jameela Sabiri, general secretary of the JKAWHU, Naseema Kuchay, president, JKAWHU,  Spinder Kour, treasurer and Kanta Devi, anganwadi leader urged the government to immediately release the arrears in favour of the anganwadi workers and helpers under central and state share, besides ensuring time bound promotions in various cadre positions of the social welfare department. They said that anganwadi workers and helpers, the grass root workers of the ICDS scheme should be entitled to decent living. Their immediate demands included payment of gratuity, the formulation of a pension scheme to ensure that these women workers do not languish in their old age, immediate enhancement of their meager remuneration to the consumer price index, payment of minimum wages and withdrawal of attempts to privatise ICDS. A standing mechanism must be put in place in the ministry of women and child development for revision in the rates of honorarium of anganwadi workers and helpers. Anganwadi workers and helpers should be covered by the EPF and ESI Act for regularisation of their services as government employees, besides that the anganwadi centres must be made as nodal centers to impart pre-school education, they demanded.


Others who spoke on the occasion included Abdul Rashid Najar, joint secretary CITU, CITU leaders Sham Prasad Kesar and Om Prakash Sharma. They  demanded release of pay dues to the newly appointed workers, conversion of the ICDS as a separate department and demanded provision of pensionary benefits to the workers and helpers. 


The protestors were carrying banners, placards and shouting slogans demanding regularisation of their services as Class III and Class IV employees with immediate increase in their honorarium to Rs 5000 and Rs 4000 per month respectively. They were also demanding release of training grants in favour of the workers and helpers without any delay and providing of TA, DA for attending different meetings like pulse polio, Aids Awareness Programme etc.  

The workers and helpers later marched from SK Park to Press enclave.