Mass Organisations React on Union Budget 2018-19
ALL INDIA FEDERATION OF ANGANWADI
WORKERS AND HELPERS
The election manifesto of the BJP for the 2014 parliament elections says that if voted to power it will “Review the working conditions and enhance the remuneration of Anganwadi worker's”. The last full budget of the NDA government is the proof of not only the breaking of its promise but also of the criminal neglect of India’s eight crore malnourished children and two crore pregnant mothers. Since 2011, the remuneration of the anganwadi employees had not been increased whereas the working hours had been increased to make it full time. (At present, the Government of India pays Rs 1800 for workers and Rs 900 for anganwadi helpers, per month)
According to the ministry of WCD, 75 lakh new born children die every year in India before completing six months. In this situation, the only scheme which guarantees holistic development of the children under six in India, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme needs to be strengthened. The Supreme Court directive and the Right to Food Act guarantee this. But the Modi led NDA government has continuously cut down the budget allocation to this crucial scheme which ensures right to food, education and health to children and maternity entitlement to mothers. In his first budget, Modi has cut down the budget from Rs 18,108 crores (2014-15) to Rs 8,400crores (2015-16), which the government was forced to increase due to struggles by the workers and helpers.
Continuous struggles by the anganwadi workers and helpers at various levels forced the government not to further cut down the allocation. The allocation for ICDS this year is Rs 16, 334.88 crores where as it was 15,425.19 crores last year. This allocation is grossly inadequate to even cover the increased cost norms for the supplementary nutrition declared by the ministry in September 2017. (According to the ministry, the additional expenditure for the nutrition is nearly Rs 10,000 crores in ICDS for three years.). In many states the supplementary nutrition is not supplied since last six months.
The Modi government which has been making false claims on increasing maternity benefits, has cut down the already inadequate allocation for Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana by Rs 300 crores in this budget.
Even the all India strike by the scheme workers on January 17, 2018 in which nearly sixty lakh workers participated could not make this pro-corporate NDA government sensitive to the cause of workers and the poor and marginalised people. The government is going ahead with direct benefit transfer in place of services in anganwadi centres and packaged food by the multinationals. We warn the government that it has to pay heavy price in the coming elections if they are not ready to mend their ways.
The demands for implementation of recommendations of the 45th Indian Labour Conference to recognise the scheme workers including anganwadi workers and helpers as employees, give them minimum wages and pension and other social security benefits are again negated.
AIFAWH calls upon all the state unions and anganwadi workers and helpers to protest against government’s anti-worker policies by organising protest demonstrations and actions including burning of effigies, all over the country on February 2, 2018, along with other workers as per the call of central trade unions.
AIFAWH will plan further struggles including strike and indefinite padav in Delhi in consultation with other trade unions. AIFAWH calls upon the anganwadi employees to be prepared for militant struggles till our demands are met and reach out to the people of the country for support to the struggles to Save ICDS.
DALIT SHOSHAN MUKTI MANCH
Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch (DSMM) expresses its deep disappointment on union budget allocations for Scheduled Caste welfare. It is just Rs 56,000 crores as against 52,000 crores allocated in the last year's budget. Modi government has removed the provisions of Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) in the previous budget itself. It has also failed to implement Narendra Jadhav Committee recommendation, according to which the allocations for SC welfare should be 4.5 per cent in the total budget. But in this budget, it is only 3.8 per cent. Even of the allocated funds, a major lot are being diverted or are made to lapse. There is no assurance given in this budget to spend these funds for the development and welfare of Scheduled Castes.
DSMM demands the government to increase budgetary allocations for SC welfare as per the population ratio and make a law for guaranteeing the spending of these funds for SC welfare only.