Srinagar, October 18: The Anganwadi workers and helpers in Jammu and Kashmir, who are working tirelessly and are on the forefront of fighting Covid-19 pandemic, are without wages for the last more than a year which is unfortunate.
Thousands of Anganwadi workers and helpers, who have been tirelessly working day in and day out have been treated with utter contempt by the government. The government had in 2018 announced to enhance the honorarium in favour of these workers/helpers. However, more than two years down the line, the announcement to enhance the honorarium of these workers by Rs 500 has not been fulfilled yet.
All the government schemes are being implemented through Anganwadi workers and helpers. But despite that even the meager wages due to them are denied since 2019. Helpers to supervisors, who are more than 700 in number are without wages for the last three years. The Central share for their wages for the year 2019 has been released but the state share is yet to be released compounding their problems.
The administrative apathy towards their genuine issues is against justice and fair play. They are being denied social security benefits including promotion, gratuity, pension, provident fund, medical facilities, etc.
Similarly, the Accredited Social Health Activists under the NHM, the mid-day-meal workers, who have served the poor women and children all their lives with a nominal honorarium, have been left to fend for themselves by this government.
Modi government has been announcing packages and yojnas which in reality are re-packaging of the old packages and yojnas. On ground, the BJP government is treacherously snatching away several benefits that were available to the workers till now.
It has restored to drastic cuts in the allotments to several of its social welfare schemes which mainly benefit the unorganized sector workers, particularly children and women in their families. The allocation for Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme, which has been in existence for the last, more than 40 years as a centrally sponsored scheme, continues to suffer from funds shortage.
The allocations for the Ministry of Women and Child Development, for the Ministry of Health and family Welfare and for education have been drastically cut. Similarly, the sharing pattern between the Center and states has been changed for the National Health Mission and the allocation has been reduced.
The 45th Indian Labor Conference had almost unanimously recommended that all these scheme workers should be treated as workers and should be paid minimum wages and provided with social security benefits. Despite this the government did not take any initiative to implement these recommendations. It didn’t even increase their meager remuneration.
Meanwhile, on October 17, a meeting of Anganwadi workers and helpers union was held in Srinagar in which several resolutions pertaining to their problems were adopted. The Union urged the government to fulfill their genuine demands and release the pending without any further delay.