AIFAWH will burn the effigies of NDA government throughout the country on 2nd February 2018
The election manifesto of the BJP for the 2014 Parliament elections say that if came to power it will “Review the working conditions and enhance the remuneration of Anganwadi worker's”. The last full budget of the NDA government is the proof of not only the breaking of its promise but also of the criminal neglect of India’s eight crore malnourished children and two crore pregnant mothers. Since 2011 the remuneration of the anganwadi employees had not been increased whereas the working hours had been increased to make it full time. (At present the Government of India pays Rs.1800 for workers and Rs.900 for anganwadi helpers per month)
According to the ministry of WCD, 75 lakh new born children die every year in India before completing six months. In this situation, the only scheme which guarantees holistic development of the children under six in India, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme need to be strengthened. The Supreme Court directive and the Right to Food Act guarantee this. But the Modi led NDA government had continuously cut down the budget allocation to this crucial scheme which ensure right to food, education and health to the children and maternity entitlement to the mothers. In his first budget he has cut down the budget from Rs.18108 crores(2014-15) to Rs.8400crores (2015-16), which the government was forced to increase due to struggles by the workers and helpers.
Continuous struggles by the anganwadi workers and helpers at various levels forced the government not to further cut down the allocation. The allocation for ICDS this year is Rs.16, 334.88 crores where as it was 15,425.19 crores last year. This allocation is grossly inadequate to even cover the increased cost norms for the supplementary nutrition declared by the Ministry in September 2017. (According the ministry, the additional expenditure for the nutrition is nearly Rs.10000crores in ICDS for three years.). IN many states the supplementary nutrition is not supplied since last six months.
Modi government which had been making false claim on increasing maternity benefits has cut down the already inadequate allocation for Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana by Rs.300 crores in this budget.
Even the all India Strike by the scheme workers on 17 January 2018 in which nearly sixty lakh workers participated could not make this pro corporate NDA government sensitive to the cause of workers and the poor and marginalized people. The government is going ahead with direct benefit transfer in place of services in anganwadi centres and packaged food by the multinationals. We warn the government that it has to pay heavy price in the coming elections if they are not ready to mend their ways.
The demands for implementation of recommendations of the 45th Indian Labour Conference to recognise the scheme workers including anganwadi workers and helpers as employees, give them minimum wages and pension and other social security benefits are again negated.
AIFAWH calls upon all the state unions and anganwadi workers and helpers to protest against government’s anti worker policies by organising protest demonstrations and actions including burning of effigy, all over the country on 2nd February 2017, along with other workers as per the call of central trade unions.
AIFAWH will plan further struggles including strike and indefinite Padav in Delhi in consultation with other trade unions. AIFAWH calls upon the anganwadi employees to be prepared for militant struggles till our demands are met and reach out to the people of the country for support to the struggles to Save ICDS.
A. R. Sindhu,