Strengthen ICDS NOW! Don’t Allow Three Lakh Children to Die!
Nearly 3 Lakh anganwadi workers and helpers many wearing red dress and wearing red masks came out on streets demanding safety gear, insurance and risk allowance for Covid- 19 duty, recognition as workers, minimum wages and pension and social security, and most importantly, increased allocation for ICDS especially for the nutrition, today on 10 of July 2020, at the call of the All India Demands Day called by the Al India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH).
Anganwadi workers and helpers from 22 states – Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Pondicherry, Rajasthan, Telengana, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal observed “All India Demands’ Day” at the call of AIFAWH. In Karnataka, three days protest will start on 13 July 2020.
In the background of the Covid -19 pnademic and lock down, 26 lakh anganwadi workers and helpers in the country, along with other frontline workers like ASHA workers are the force which is fighting the pandemic in the forefront, going door to door taking the supplementary nutrition to the beneficiaries, educating the public on Covid related issues, conducting surveys of patients, taking them to hospitals, taking social security and pension to the old and needy, monitoring the patients in the quarantine centres etc. But the government is not providing any safety gear to the workers; no they are covered under any insurance scheme. Many cases of infection and deaths are reported from different states, but the governments are not taking any measurers to ensure safety to them. UNICEF has warned that this year an additional three lakh children (in addition to the around nine lakh children dying every year) under the age of five will die in our country, due to malnutrition, if we do not ensure adequate food and nutrition to the majority of the people who are poor. But the so much propagated ‘package’ of the government is totally silent on this and instead is selling out the country to the corporate and curtailing the rights of the people. In many states like Bihar and UP the state governments are trying to stop even the dry ration supply and replace it with cash transfer. So, AIFAWH has decided to observe the all India demands day as “Lalkar Diwas” or ‘Challenge Day’ against the policies of Modi Government.
In spite of the threat by the authorities, the anganwadi workers and helpers who educate the public on the safety measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic, in very disciplined manner, keeping all norms of physical distancing, observed the Lalkar Diwas at project headquarter many wearing red dress with red masks. They have submitted memorandum to the Prime Minister and WCD Minister through the local authorities.
In a solidarity programme organized at the CITU centre, Tapan Sen, General Secretary, K Hemalata President, M L Malkotia Treasurer, J S Majumdar, Vice President, S Deve Roye, A R Sindhu, Secretary CITU and General Secretary AIFAWH and Anju Maini , Treasurer AIFAWH participated.
AIFAWH Congratulates all the state unions and all the anganwadi workers and helpers for making the programme a grand success. AIFAWH calls upon all the anganwadi workers and helpers to prepare for heightened struggles against this anti people anti national Modi government in the coming days.
- Double the allocation to ICDS urgently. Increase the quantity and quality of nutrition supply to the beneficiaries.
- Recognise anganwadi workers and Helpers as workers, Pay minimum wages Rs.30,000pm to workers and Rs.21000 to Helpers; Equal wages to Mini Workers; Provide Pension, ESI, PF etc as per the recommendations of 45th and 46th ILC
- Provide safety gear for all anganwadi workers and helpers, especially those in the health sector; PPEs for those who are engaged in containment areas and red zone ; Frequent, random and free Covid-19 test of all frontline workers
- Rs 50 lakhs insurance cover to all frontline workers covering all deaths on duty; also coverage of treatment for Covid-19 for the entire family.
- Make ICDS permanent with adequate budget allocation. No privatisation in any form; No Cash Transfers in ICDS; Convert all Mini centres to Full Centres;
- Additional Covid Risk Allowance of Rs.25,000 per month for all anganwadi workers an helpers engaged in Covid -19 duty. Payment of all the pending dues immediately
- Compensation of minimum Rupees Ten lakhs for all those who got infected while on duty
- Strengthen the ECCE in anganwadis.
- Ensure food, healthcare, education, income, jobs and shelter to all
- No increase in working hours from 8 to 12 hours; No freezing of Labour Laws
- No Privatisation of PSEs and services
- Withdraw the ordinances on agricultural trade and ECA immediately
A R Sindhu