For More than Two Months Now, Anganwadi Workers in Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir are on Protest
In the last two months, thousands of Anganwadi workers are waging protests across Punjab demanding the fulfillment of their demands including regularization of Integrated Child Development Scheme, closure of pre-primary schools, replacement of honorarium with pay scale among others.
On 20 March, Anganwadi Mulazam Union led by CITU held a protest rally in state’s capital Chandigarh while in Bathinda; Anganwadi volunteers led by Hargobind Kaur held a protest demonstration by burning effigy of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in support of their longstanding demands, as the assembly sessions in the state has commenced.
The case of their counterparts in Jammu and Kashmir is similar where the Anganwadi workers have been protesting for more than two months now.
In Punjab, the Anganwadi workers and helpers get a monthly salary of Rs 5400 and Rs 2700 respectively. They are demanding a hike up to Rs 10000 (for workers) and Rs 5000 (for helpers).
Whereas in Jammu and Kashmir, the protesters are demanding the government to release of pending salaries of last six months. Alongside, the workers want their monthly pay hike from Rs 3600 to Rs 10000 and for helpers, from Rs 1800 to Rs 6000.
‘All Jammu and Kashmir Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Association’ held a massive protest in state’s Bandipora Yesterday 20 March.
Regarding the increase in salary, the Congress party-led Punjab government had earlier said that the workers are part of the Centre’s project and the state’s financial resources are limited to meet the demand. In November last year, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh had assured that the functioning of pre-primary schools would not result in shut down of Anganwadi centers.
According to the Ministry of Women and Child Development data, 75 lakh new born children die every year in India before completing 6 months. While, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme guarantees holistic development of the children under 6 years in India, Anganwadi workers organisations are arguing that the NDA led central government has been undermining the scheme since 2014.
After series of protests in Haryana, the state government had recently categorized the Anganwadi workers as skilled workers and semi-skilled workers while fixing the monthly salary at Rs 11429 and Rs 10286 respectively, alongside the helpers are said to get a monthly salary of Rs 5715.
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