Mumbai: Anganwadi workers demand better pay, to go on strike from April 1 | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Mumbai: Anganwadi workers demand better pay, to go on strike from April 1

They complained that their monthly salaries of Rs5000 for an anganwadi worker and Rs2,500 for the helper, hardly gets them through the month.

mumbai Updated: Mar 27, 2017 01:24 IST
Aayushi Pratap
Anganwadi workers and helpers are hired by the government to run the central government’s Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) welfare programme that provides nutrition, pre-school education to children below six years of age.
Anganwadi workers and helpers are hired by the government to run the central government’s Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) welfare programme that provides nutrition, pre-school education to children below six years of age. (HT FILE)

Around 2.07 lakh anganwadi workers and helpers across the state have decided to go on a strike from April 1 to demand for an increase in the salaries.

Anganwadi workers and helpers are hired by the government to run the central government’s Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) welfare programme that provides nutrition, pre-school education to children below six years of age.

They complained that their monthly salaries of Rs5000 for an anganwadi worker and Rs2,500 for the helper, hardly gets them through the month.

“In spite of working for more than seven hours a day, many anganwadi workers are taking up additional jobs to survive. Some have started working as domestic helpers,” said Shubha Shamim, secretary of Anganwadi Karmchari Sangathana.

“Also, there is a major delay of at least three to four months in the payment of the present salaries,” she added.

Meena Mohite, 45, an anganwadi worker at Pratiksha Nagar, Sion, has been selling coconuts in the evening to earn some extra money. In the last 25 years of working as an anganwadi worker, her pay has increased from Rs 250 to only Rs 5000.

“Things have got so expensive. After I lost my husband in 2009, I have single-handedly tried to pay for my daughter’s Bachelors of Science course fees, which is around Rs 40,000 a year,” she said.

Moreover, the 31% cut in the proposed ICDS budget for 2017-2018, will only add to their woes, said health activists. The allocated budget for 2017-2018 is Rs2,033 crores as compared to Rs 2,974 last year.

Vinod Shinde associated with Jan Arogya Abhiyan said that the state government has irrationally cut funds for ICDS. “The anganwadi workers do not get paid on time. Their out-of-the pocket expenses on food and travel are so high,” he said.

He added that with ICDS budgetary cuts, it is unlikely that there will be an increase in the money allocated for the food expenses of the children who come to the anganwadis. “As per the budget, the food expenditure per child in a day is only Rs4.92. If the anganwadi worker has to manage the expenses within budget, wouldn’t the quality of food suffer?” he questioned.