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Kerala Creches in Peril as Centre ‘Withholds’ Funds for 22 Months

With the grants drying up, the workers have not been paid the honorarium for the past 10 months.
Kerala Creches

The creche workers of Kerala are reeling under a crisis as the central grants have been withheld for close to 22 months. The creches, which take care of children of age between six months and three years, are also facing a severe crisis due to grant cuts affecting the purchase of nutritious food and playing kits for the children.

Protesting against this crisis, the Kerala Creche Workers Union (KCWU), affiliated with the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), held a Raj Bhavan march on November 23 in Thiruvananthapuram. The workers urged the central government to disburse the grants immediately to prevent the creches from shutting down and the workers from facing hunger.

With creche teachers and helpers receiving an honorarium of Rs 4,000 and Rs 2,000 respectively, the union has been demanding that the state and central governments ensure a minimum honorarium of Rs 15,000. Other demands of the workers from around 220 creches include recognition as government employees, leave facilities, and social security measures.


The creches, under the Department of Child Welfare, operate around 220 centres across the state, each manned with one teacher and one helper. The centres operate from 10 am to 5 pm but are not restricted to this time period as working parents may pick up their children late.

The grants for the creches are shared by the central and state governments at a 60:40 ratio, including the payment of wages, purchase of food items, paying rent for the buildings, and other requirements to engage the children.

Speaking to NewsClick, A G Meenambika, the state president of the union, accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government of withholding grants for which Kerala is eligible. “For the past 22 months, the central government has not released the grant to the creches. The workers themselves are borrowing money, collecting funds from the public to meet the expenses to run the creches,” she said.

With the grants drying up, the workers have not been paid the honorarium for the past 10 months. The Child Development Department has approached the concerned department of the central government to release the grant but to no avail.

“The central government has not responded positively to the representations of the state government. The grants of both the state and Centre are essential for the smooth operations of the creches. The state government increased the honorarium to the teachers and helpers by Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 a couple of years ago," Meenambika said.

The revision of the honorarium by the state government was the result of the protest by the union and timely intervention from the Child Development Department under the Women and Child Welfare Ministry.


The workers, being paid a paltry honorarium without any leave facilities and social security measures, say that they are struggling to make ends meet. They are unable to carry out any part-time work given the responsibility of managing toddlers and kids below three years of age. They are not eligible for insurance, medical benefits, and social welfare measures.

“The creche workers must be recognised as government employees and all the benefits available for women workers in government departments should be extended to them. The central government must provide special assistance to improve the infrastructure facilities in the creches,” Meenambika added.

To avoid the stagnancy in honorarium, the workers have urged the central government to periodically carry out revisions.

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