NO ADEQUATE ALLOCATION FOR NUTRITION
NO Minimum Wage, No Pension for Anganwadi Workers and Helpers
The budget placed by Smt Nirmala Sitaraman again has failed to address the issue of alarming levels of malnutrition in our country. The budget figures do not match her budget speech and many claims turned out to be lies on Nutrition, Women and children and anganwadis and ‘Beti Bechao, Beti Padhao’
For the scheme which the Finance Minister boasted about‘ in her speech ‘Beti Bechao, Beti Padhao’, there is Rs.60 crore decrease in allocation from last year ! (From Rs.280cr to Rs.220cr)
- There is no increase in maternity benefit scheme – Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (Only Rs.2500cr)
- There is only nominal increase in Anganwadi services (Core ICDS) of Rs.698cr. (From Rs.19834.37 to Rs.20532.38 cr). This is inadequate to cover the revised (in 2017) cost norms with annual cost indexation for Supplementary Nutrition (SN) in the anganwadi centres, which is an additional Rs.4000cr per year.
- There is no mention of making mini centres to full centres, no minimum wage or pension for the anganwadi workers and helpers
- There is only a nominal increase in National Nutrition Mission (Rs.300cr) which is again quoted by the Minister. This scheme is a digital monitoring mechanism operated through mobile app based reporting. Except for high levels of corruption involved in the purchasing of mobile phones it has not yet served any purpose. In many parts of India where malnutrition is rampant like tribal areas, there is no network and the system turned out to be a non starter.
- There is no increase in the allocation for Mid Day Meal Scheme in the budget
- The budget totally neglect nearly one crore scheme workers like Anganwadi, ASHA and MDM workers, who are the grass root level workers delivering the essential services to the people.
Last year, 8.8 lakh children below the age of 5 years died in India due to malnutrition and related reasons. Under Modi regime India has gone behind Ethiopia and Pakistan in Global Hunger Index with half of the ‘young India’ wasted, stunted and anaemic. If we do not address the issue of malnutrition in a war footing, the advantage of having the youth will become a bane in the near future. This budget does not address the biggest issue the country faces. It has again neglected the demands of the anganwadi workers and helpers for recognition as workers, minimum wages and pension.
This budget again proved that Modi government is not ready to change its policies of selling the national assets, giving tax concessions to the corporate and taxing the working people, in spite of the warning given by the working people of the country on 8 January 2020 through the biggest General Strike. AIFAWH calls upon the anganwadi workers and helpers to protest against the budget throughout the country.
AIFAWH will join the ‘Jail Bharo’ programme on 6 March 2020 along with other working women all over the country on the occasion of International Women’s Day against the policies which undermines women’s work and promote violence against women. AIFAWH calls upon all the scheme workers to join in large numbers in the jail bharo demanding recognition as workers, minimum wages and pension.
- R. Sindhu
General Secretary, All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH)