Why are Anganwadi workers protesting in Delhi?

Ground Report | New Delhi: Anganwadi workers protesting in Delhi; Thousands of Anganwadi workers and helpers staged a rally near the residence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday

after an indefinite labour strike to protest the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government in the national capital. They also plan to put pressure on the AAP and the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the upcoming local body elections.

At present, there are around 22,000 workers and helpers working in Anganwadi Centres (AWCs). These workers in Delhi receive a monthly honorarium of Rs 9,678 and helpers receive Rs 4,839,

which had been increased from Rs 5,000 and Rs 2,500 respectively following a strike in 2017. Now, they have demanded an increase to Rs 25,000 a month for workers and Rs 20,000 for helpers.

My husband is also getting old

One of the Anganwadi workers a 55-year-old lady said, “I have been working at this capacity for some 35 years now. But I have no pension or life insurance, and there has been no scope for promotion to better work. Through the pandemic, I have been working in the community. My husband is also getting old, and we have no savings,”

The workers, belonging to the Delhi State Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union, also warned that they would go to Punjab and other States, which are going to the polls.

The protesters said, “Both the Delhi and Central governments” have not helped them.  We will send teams of workers to Punjab, Goa, U.P. and Uttarakhand to expose both AAP(Aam Aadmi Party) and the BJP(Bharatiya Janata Party) as they are among the ruling parties in Delhi, and tell people not to vote for them.

we will not vote for them in upcoming civic polls

The honorarium for Anganwadi workers in Delhi was last increased in August 2017 after 58 days of strike. The present honorariums of Anganwadi workers and helpers in Delhi are ₹9,678 and ₹4,839 respectively, as per the union.

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 The protesters demanded that the fee be increased to Rs 25,000 for Anganwadi workers and Rs 20,000 for helpers.

“We will continue our indefinite strike until our demands are met and we are given a written guarantee. If any political party ignores our demands, we will not vote for them in upcoming civic polls. This will also be reflected in the electoral states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and others,” the statement said.

He said that the last announcement of a fee increase by the central government was made on September 11, 2018. However, it was never implemented.

Saheli Samanvay Kendra’ scheme and the New Education Policy

Following this, the Delhi government issued a notice in September 2019, deducting Rs 900 and Rs 450, respectively, from their share of workers’ and assistants’ fees, according to the statement.

Currently, in Delhi, Anganwadi workers and helpers, although not having the status of “employees”, are entitled to Rs 9,698 and Rs 4,839, respectively.

DSAWHU, the union spearheading the ongoing movement, is also demanding retirement benefits for Anganwadi carers and an Employees State Insurance (ESI) and Provident Fund (PF) provision.

On Monday, protesters also denounced the ‘Saheli Samanvay Kendra’ scheme and the New Education Policy, 2020. Under the former, a scheme unveiled by the AAP government last year, 500 Anganwadi centers would be set up to incubate individual startups. . However, this has led to an increase in the working hours of workers and helpers, according to DSAWHU.

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