Observed All India Protest Day on 22 January 2021.
AIFAWH Delegation meets WCD Minister on 21 Janaury
Thousands of anganwadi workers and helpers observed protest day throughout the country against the callous attitude of the government of India towards the increasing malnutrition in the country,and the issues of anganwadi workers and helpers. Efforts are made by the NDA I and II governments to weaken the Intergrated Child Development Services Scheme by continuous budget cuts. The recently released National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) data shows alarming indications of an increase in malnutrition in the period 2014-19 with nearly half of our children anemic, stunted, wasted and underweight. The pandemic and lockdown had made the situation worsen with job and income losses, unemployment etc. UNICEF has warned that India will lose an additional three lakh children under five years in the next six months, due to poverty, hunger and malnutrition if this issue is urgently addressed. This is in addition to the nearly 8.8 lakh under fives who die every year.
The government is putting on risk the lives of anganwadi workers and helpers who are engaged in Covid duty, without paying them even minimum wages or even providing any safety measures.
Massive mobilizations were held at district/project level in AP, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, HP, Jharkhand, Kerala, MP, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, UP, Uttarakhand and West Bengal and memorandum to the Finance Minister were submitted. (Copy enclosed)
On 21 January 2021, a delegation of AIFAWH consisting of A R Sindhu, General Secretary, Anju MAini, Treasurer and Shakuntala, Secretary along with Tapan Sen, General Secretary CITU met Smt Smriti Irani, Minister for WCD and raised various issues and demands including increased budget allocation for ICDS to address alarming levels of malnutrion and to ensure risk allowance, insurance, minimum wages, social security and pension to the anganwadi workers and helpers. Other issues of privaisation and opening of pre schools, unscientific digitization, extra work, non payment of wages and other benefits for months etc. were also raised by the delegation. The minister assured that the government is opposed to privatization of ICDS and cash transfer in place of freshly cooked food in ICDS.
AIFAWH congratulates the angnawadi workers and helpers for the success of the protest and calls upon them to be prepared for countrywide protest in case there is no increae in budget 2021-22
A R Sindhu