The All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) has come out in strong support of the struggles of Anganwadi workers and helpers that have been going on in Haryana and Delhi for the last month, demanding that "the struggling workers' demands be immediately accepted by the concerned state governments."
The indefinite strike of the Anganwadi caregivers in Haryana has been going on since December 8, 2021, resulting in the halting of operations at almost all of the 26,000 state-run daycare centres in 22 districts of the state.
Led jointly by CITU-led Haryana Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union and AIUTUC-led Anganwadi Karyakarta Sahayika Union, the striking women are demanding, among others, an increment in their monthly honorarium – the increase was promised to them by the Central Government in 2018.
Thousands of them are in a day and night continuous dharna in Karnal, the Vidhan Sabha constituency of the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who went back on his words to give the status of skilled and unskilled workers to the Anganwadi workers. "The Haryana government is not willing to abide by its agreement even though the strike has been going on for the past two and a half months."
The Anganwadi workers and helpers in Delhi are also on strike, demanding monthly pay of Rs 25,000 and Rs 20,000 for workers and helpers, respectively.
AIDWA statement highlighted the role of Anganwadi workers in the implementation of schemes against malnutrition amongst children. Rather than adequately compensate the workers for their jobs, the state governments have been trying to break their struggle. In Haryana, "the services of more than 200 Anganwadi workers have been terminated, and serious cases have been lodged against hundreds of them."
"AIDWA demands that the government should stop repression, and all the termination notices and cases must be withdrawn immediately. All the workers and helpers must be given the status of government employees. Till this is implemented, a minimum wage of Rs 24,000 to the workers and Rs 16,000 to the helpers must be given. All the arrears of increase in payment since 2018, as per the announcement of the PM, of Rs 1500 and 750 to workers and helpers, respectively, must be immediately disbursed. Similarly, AIDWA demands that the Delhi State Government also immediately fulfil the just demands of the workers and helpers in Delhi," the statement read.