Anganwadi workers and assistants have resumed their protests demanding regularisation of jobs after the Tamil Nadu government did not keep its word of making announcements fulfilling their demands. Hence, the workers held demonstrations outside the district collector offices across the state on February 23.
Similarly, differently-abled persons restarted their protests by staging dharnas in front of government offices on February 23 as the social welfare department did not fulfil its promise of considering their demands and making announcements within one week.
On the other hand, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam presented the interim budget for the year 2021-22 on the same day. Both the anganwadi union and the differently-abled persons association have stated that their demands did not find mentions in the budget.
ANGANWADI STAFF’S DEMANDS UNMET
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government did not fulfil its promises following the massive February 9 protest held in Chennai by anganwadi workers and assistants, leading to them once again hitting the streets with a charter of 22 demands.
The police refused to give permission for protests in Namakkal, Krishnagiri, Vellore and Sivagangai districts, but the workers stood their ground and marked their dissatisfaction.
The union stated that an announcement was made by former CM J Jayalalithaa through rule 110 of the House, according to which anganwadi workers were promised to be absorbed as government employees and be provided as per the seventh pay commission. Workers must have been paid Rs 21,000 and assistants Rs 18,000 per month according to the announcement. Further, retired anganwadi workers should have been given pension of Rs 9,000 and assistants Rs 5,000. Additionally, the amount of Rs 10 lakh for workers and 5 lakh for assistants should have been provided at the time of their retirement. But neither Jayalalitha nor her successor Edappadi K Palaniswamy implemented the announcement.
The protesting workers are again demanding the materialisation of Jayalalithaa’s announcement. Their demands also include promotions for anganwadi workers to supervisors after ten years of service and assistants to workers after five years of service.
PROTEST IN CHENNAI
The protest in Chennai was held outside the ICDS office in Taramani. Speaking to the press, the anganwadi union state general secretary T Daisy said, “Social welfare department secretary S Madhumathi claimed that the first three demands were discussed on February 4 and informed us that announcements would soon be made. Announcements were not made as promised, so we have begun this indefinite protest.”
Centre of Indian Trade Unions state secretary Gopinath addressed the agitating workers. Kattabomman, Vice President of Tamil Nadu Mid-Day-Meal and Anganwadi Pensioners Union, spoke in solidarity as well.
Speaking to Newsclick, Daisy said, “We are on an indefinite protest. We will continue. We will continue till the Assembly session is over on February 27.”
DIFFERENTLY-ABLED RESUME OCCUPYING GOVT OFFICES
Demanding increase in their allowance, differently-abled persons have staged protests at government offices across Tamil Nadu.
The protestors are demanding monthly social security allowance similar to that of Telangana and Puducherry, where the differently-abled are provided Rs 3,000 and the severely disabled Rs 5000 per month.
As per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, 5% reservation should be given to Persons with Disabilities (PwD) in private sector jobs, and as per a 2013 Supreme Court order, 4% should be reserved for PwD in government jobs.
Stressing the need for the Tamil Nadu government to immediately release a report acknowledging and fulfilling the demands of the differently-abled persons, an indefinite protest to occupy 187 government offices was called on February 9.
Social welfare department secretary Madhumathi had then held talks with leaders of the Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC). She promised to take up all their demands and fulfil them within a week. Following this, the protest was temporarily called off on February 10. But, the secretary did not keep her word.
On February 23, the differently-abled persons resumed their protests outside 100 government offices in the state.
S Nambu Rajan, general secretary of TARATDAC, told Newsclick, “The budget has not addressed our demands" and said that their protest would continue.