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Delhi: Anganwadi Union Seeks WCD Minister’s Intervention Over Terminated Women Workers

Anganwadi caregivers were terminated sans legal procedures, DAWHU said in a letter addressed to the Women and Child Development minister Kailash Gehlot.
Anganwadi and ASHA workers

File Photo.

New Delhi: The Delhi Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union (DAWHU), one of the multiple unions of the all-women workforce in the national capital, on Monday urged the Minister of Women and Child Development, Kailash Gehlot, to intervene in the matter pertaining to the termination of caregivers in the city.

Over 800 Anganwadi workers and helpers in Delhi were terminated from their services earlier in March this year, allegedly for staging over a month-long strike to demand a raise in their honorarium and other social security benefits.

The caregivers, including single mothers, were issued termination notices after the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) was imposed in the city for six months. It declared the services rendered by Anganwadi workers and helpers as “essential” while prohibiting them from going on strike.

The Anganwadi caregivers were terminated by the department without following legal procedures, DAWHU said in a letter addressed to Gehlot on Monday. The termination has also pushed numerous women workers into poverty, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU)-affiliated DAWHU said.

“Most of these women are extremely needy. [And yet] the officers of the department are showing a very insensitive attitude towards them,” DAWHU said in its letter, adding, “Due to this type of functioning of the department under the Aam Aadmi Party, a wrong image of the government is being created among the general public.”

Anurag Saxena, state general secretary of CITU, told Newsclick on Monday that a union delegation has met officials of the WCD department multiple times in the past five months, pressing the latter to immediately resolve the matter. “Every time, we have been assured of positive results and yet no action is taken,” he said.

The union is now requesting Gehlot to intervene in the matter, Saxena said. “We are looking to hold a meeting with him in this regard,” he added.

Meanwhile, DAWHU on Monday also reiterated its other demands, including the withdrawal of ESMA in Delhi and an honorarium for Anganwadi workers and helpers that is at par with the minimum wage rate in the national capital.

There are 10,392 Anganwadi workers and helpers in the national capital.

To be sure, in February this year, as the strike action of Anganwadi caregivers was going on, the then state WCD minister Rajendra Pal Gautam announced a hike in the honorariums from Rs 9,678 to Rs 12,720 for the workers and from Rs 4,839 to Rs 6,810 for the helpers.

However, the strike continued as the protesting unions found the increment too low.

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