THE All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH) has, in a statement issued on September 11, congratulated the anganwadi workers and helpers all over the country for forcing the Modi government to announce an increase in remuneration of anganwadi workers and helpers on the eve of the assembly elections in five states and also ahead of the next parliament election. This is the result of consistent struggles by the anganwadi employees for the last four years on their long pending demands under the leadership of AIFAWH and also under the joint platform of central trade unions including the Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally on September 5, 2018 in which nearly fifty thousand anganwadi workers and helpers participated. AIFAWH had collected nearly three crore signatures from beneficiaries on these long pending demands.
The prime minister announced an increase in remuneration of anganwadi workers by Rs 1,500 per month, mini anganwadi workers by Rs 1,250 per month and helpers Rs 750 per month making it Rs 4,500 per month, Rs 3,500 per month and Rs 2,250 per month respectively. Considering the anti-labour policies of the government, this is a big achievement of the worker’s struggles.
It is to be noted that as per the current fund sharing patterns in ICDS (60:40), the actual amount the government of India will be paying is Rs 900 per month, Rs 750 per month and Rs 450 per month respectively. The other announcements made by the prime minister are nothing but various existing government schemes. But the basic questions of making the scheme permanent to ensure the right of every child and mother to food, health and education and the right of the workers for minimum wages and pension have not been addressed. Modi has not made it clear that how much additional funds he is going to allocate to ICDS.
Modi government, which is now pretending to be the champion of combating malnutrition has been continuously cutting down the budget allocations for ICDS. Even today, in most of the states, the wages of anganwadi workers and helpers are pending and the nutrition supply is stopped for the last 3-6 months due to lack of funds.
AIFAWH is proud that we could advance our struggles to make some achievements through consistent struggles by mobilising the workers and also the public. In the last three years (2016-2018), our struggles could make every state government and now the government of India also to increase the wages of anganwadi workers and helpers. We are sure that this will give more confidence to not only the anganwadi employees in their struggle for achieving the demands, but also to the struggles of all working people. AIFAWH calls upon the anganwadi workers and helpers throughout the country to be prepared for more militant struggles for the basic rights in the coming days including the two-day general strike as announced by the central trade unions.