February 11, 2024
Scheme Workers Issue Chargesheet to NDA Govt and MPs

AR Sindhu

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HUNDREDS of anganwadi, ASHA and mid-day meal workers have taken part in rallies conducted in the parliamentary constituency headquarters and offices of the MPs throughout the country, and held demonstrations and public meetings and issued chargesheets to the MPs and ministers. 

This mobilisation was conducted after an extensive campaign among the workers and the beneficiaries as per the call of the National Convention on Scheme Worker’s Rights on September 25, 2023 by CITU federations – All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH), ASHA Workers' and Facilitators' Federation of India (AWFFI) and  Mid-Day Meal Workers' Federation of India (MDMWFI). The convention took a decision of 50 lakh house visits by the members of scheme workers’ unions against the anti-people policies of the government.  

For the effective planning and implementation of this, joint and independent meetings of the three federations were held. State-level conventions and meetings were held for detailed planning and effective implementation. In the background of the Ayodhya Ram Temple inauguration and the ensuing budget session of the parliament, it was decided to organise the action between January 23-30, 2024. 

At the same time, state-level struggles, including indefinite strikes of anganwadi, ASHA and MDM workers, were going on in many states. Extensive campaigns among the beneficiaries were planned in many states. 

The chargesheet says: “It was the scheme workers who have taken nutrition, food and health services to the people during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown risking our own lives and the lives of our families. However, it is appalling that we have been treated in a most cruel and insensitive manner by the government of India.” 

Further, it asked the MPs: “We would like to know the positions taken by you on the various issues of concern to the common people, some of which we have highlighted above. In particular, we would like to know what efforts you have made to protect the rights of the workers in general and the scheme workers in particular.” 

The programme has evoked massive response from the workers even in states like Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh, where the CITU and the unions are very weak. Wherever possible, the unions organised massive mobilisations and issued charge sheets in public.

In Karnataka, an extensive plan was made enlisting the constituencies and the unions taking targets of mobilisation and assigning responsibilities. In all the 28 parliamentary constituencies, massive actions were held on January 23. This includes Udupi-Chikmagalur represented by Shobha Karandlaje; Chitradurga by A Narayanaswami; Bidar by Bhagwanth Khuba, all central ministers. About 2,000 to 7,000 anganwdi and MDM workers participated in each constituency. The door-to-door campaign is going on.

In Kerala, the programme was held much in advance and made a detailed plan for a door-to-door campaign to reach 26 lakh households.

In Punjab, in spite of the biting cold and hailstorm, militant demonstrations were organised in most of the constituencies, including Hoshiarpur, the constituency of Som Prakash, the central minister.

In Maharashtra, the programme was organised in various places in spite of the indefinite strike. In Assam, the strike by anganwadi workers and helpers is going on. In Gujarat, the anganwadi and ASHA workers organised the programme in a few constituencies. They organised two huge rallies in Ahmedabad in a span of one month and also went on a one-day strike. In West Bengal, the programmes were held in all the districts. The scheme workers organised state-level protest actions separately on their issues as well. In Haryana, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, the programmes have been planned and will be held soon. 

The interim budget presented on February 1, in which there is no increase in remuneration of the scheme workers, rather budget cut for the schemes, has only further angered the scheme workers. As per the call of the federations, massive mobilisations and burning of the central budget and effigies of the prime minister and finance minister have also been organised by the scheme workers in various states.

In almost all the states, the scheme workers held demonstrations at local/block levels and issued strike notices for the sectoral/industrial strike on February 16, 2024, called by the platform of CTUs. 

The experience of the mass mobilisations and response of the beneficiaries supporting the strikes and struggles of scheme workers shows the potential and possibilities of politicisation through struggles. The anger against the Modi government shows that the Ram Mandir euphoria that was sought to be built by the BJP with the help of corporate media couldn’t make much inroads among the common people who are suffering due to the draconian policies of the Modi government. 

The anger created by the organised movement of the scheme workers will again be reflected in the strike and massive mobilisations on February 16, 2024. The AIFAWH, AWFFI and MDMWFI have decided to continue the campaign among the people exposing the ‘Modi guarantee’ and mobilise them on the basic rights of food, health and education as well the constitutional values of democracy and secularism. This is the only way to oust the BJP-led corporate communal government from power in the 2024 parliament elections and beyond.



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