Shri. Nitish Kumar
Honourable Chief Minister,
Sub:- Bihar Government must have dialogue with striking Anganwadi and ASHA workers’ Unions
It is surprising that two section of workers who deliver the important basic services of nutrition, childcare and healthcare to the people, the anganwadi workers and helpers and ASHA workers, are on strike in your state and even after more than weeks, your government has not taken any serious steps to resolve the issue by entering into a dialogue with the striking unions.
The anganwadi workers and helpers in Bihar are on indefinite strike since 5th December 2018, as per the call of the joint platform of the anganwadi unions. They were forced to take this extreme step because all their repeated efforts to have a dialogue with your government through representations, rallies, demonstrations etc during last few months failed.
As you are aware, Bihar is one of the states with high levels of infant and maternal mortality, child and maternal malnutrition and anemia. The ICDS is the holistic scheme addressing all these issues and the most important scheme in your state. More than one and half lakh workers and helpers work more than eight hours a day to address the biggest challenge of addressing the malnutrition I the state. It is most unfortunate that even after years of hard work, the anganwadi workers and helpers and in Bihar are the lowest paid anganwadi employees in the entire nation.
While anganwadi workers and helpers in Madhya Pradesh which is having similar nutritional problems are paid state Rs. 10000 per month and Rs.5000 per month respectively (before the recent increase in remuneration by the government of India), the anganwadi workers and helpers in Bihar are getting only Rs.3750 and Rs.1875 respectively. Six states pay more than Rs. 10000 to anganwadi workers. (A chart of the additional remuneration paid to the anganwadi workers and helpers in various states is being attached.
Similar is the case of ASHA workers who are on strike since 1 December 2018.
It is shameful that even after 20 days of the struggle, no minister was ready to talk to the unions. Deputing bureaucrats for discussions with the unions when the demands need political decisions will not serve any purpose.
We request you to intervene immediately in the matter and hold bipartite discussion with the striking workers’ unions to settle the matter amicably so that the services also can be resumed as early as possible.
A R Sindhu