People's Democracy

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


No. 10

March 09, 2014




Militant Struggle of Anganwadi Employees


R Sudhabhaskar


THE chief minister of Andhra Pradesh put in his papers on 19th February with the political turmoil in the state finally reaching an end with the division of the state. But no force on land could extinguish the fire in anganwadis of the state who began their second phase of agitation from 27th January when over 30,000 participated in dharnas before all collectorates. This phase of agitation culminated on 02nd March with the holding of public meetings wherein more than half a lakh anganwadis participated across the state.


On 01st March, principal secretary, women and child development department, Neelam Sahani, and commissioner of the department, Chiranjeevi Chowdhary, accepted to put up a file to the state governor through the chief secretary for hiking wages of both workers and helpers by Rs 800 (which was not accepted by the unions); payment of gratuity to both workers and helpers based on Gratuity Act; Rs 100 increment to both workers and helpers on completion of five years of service and Rs 200 on completion of 10 years of service (earlier only workers were being paid Rs 25 and Rs 50 respectively for 5 and 10 years of service; payment of Rs 600 for uniforms to anganwadis; summer holidays will be given for both workers and helpers at the same time; Indiramma Amrutha Hastam amounts will be paid two months in advance; and all the pending dues of wages, centre rents, TA/DAs  etc will be cleared in next two months.


These proposals would be put before governor because the state is now under president rule. However it is the new incumbent governments in both the residual Andhra Pradesh and Telangana state that will have to take up this matter. The Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union (CITU) vowed to raise in unison if the governments fail to comply with this assurance.


It is a well known fact that the political atmosphere in the state of Andhra Pradesh  has been vitiated on parochial lines for the last four years. The political brass, including the ruling Congress party and opposition TDP, BJP etc have not been able to sit collectively and deliberate on any issue. It was only Left parties and working class organisations like CITU that plunged into struggles, championing the problems of workers, unperturbed with the ongoing parochial regional movements. In this background anganwadis took cudgels against the government on their demands.


The Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union (CITU) tried to involve all the workers and helpers in this struggle that comprised holding of dharnas before MRO offices on 03rd February; representations to MLAs/MLCs, on 05th February; relay fasts before CDPO offices on 06-08 February; village meetings with beneficiaries on 09th February etc in which thousands participated. From 11th February onwards indefinite hunger strikes began before all the collectorate offices in which a total of 329 anganwadis participated. The largest contingent being in Hyderabad with 29 participants including CITU state general secretary R Sudhabhaskar also participated. In support of these indefinite fasting leaders, around 30,000 anganwadis staged day long dharnas in all the districts. On 24th February a ‘Chalo Hyderabad’ was organised which was a grand success. In spite of police arrests and large scale intimidation of buses/lorries carrying anganwadis, thousands converged near Indira Park, Hyderabad.  The chief secretary of the state took initiative which paved the way for 01st March.