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SC blow to Anganwadi workers

SC says Anganwadi workers engaged under ICDS Programme are not entitled to minimum wages, reports Satya Prakash.

india Updated: Dec 12, 2006 02:27 IST

The Supreme Court has held that Anganwadi workers engaged under the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) Programme are not entitled to minimum wages as the Minimum Wages Act is applicable only to workmen in the industries specified therein.

Rejecting the claim of Anganwadi workers for minimum wages, a Bench said the ICDS programme would not constitute an "industry" within the meaning of the Act and Anganwadi workers were not industrial workmen.

"There cannot be any doubt whatsoever that it is one thing to say the state would be liable to pay minimum wages irrespective of its financial constraints but it is another thing to say… whether such a claim can be raised in respect of those who are working under a project. It is not a case where the concept of minimum wage, living wage or fair wage can be brought in service," the Bench said.

It held that Anganwadi workers did not hold any civil post and, therefore, were not entitled to minimum wages.

Launched in 1975 by the Centre, the ICDS programme is implemented  through respective state governments. Under it, about 100 workers are required to be recruited from each of the urban and rural projects and 50 for tribal projects and they are paid Rs 938 to Rs 1,031 per month, depending on their qualification and experience.

Some Anganwadi workers had moved the Karnataka State Administrative Tribunal seeking regularisation but the Tribunal had refused to entertain their plea. Later, a larger Bench of the Tribunal had held that Anganwadi workers held civil posts even though they were paid honourarium. The Karnataka government had challenged this in the apex court.

Email Satya Prakash: satya.prakash@hindustantimes.com