30% Cut in Budget allocation to ICDS when the malnutrition in the country is all time high

NO increase in wages of anganwadi workers and helpers

in spite of the exemplary work to fight pandemic and malnutrition

The Modi government has again made drastic cut in social sector expenditure in the budget 2021-22 at a time when it is utmost necessary to increase the allocation to the Centrally Sponsored Schemes which address malnutrition and health.

Budget allocation for Umbrella ICDS(Integrated Child Development Services Scheme) has been drastically cut down by 30% from the allocation made in the last budget. The budget estimate for Umbrella ICDS in budget 2020-21 was Rs.28557.38Cr, which is now reduced by Rs.Rs.8452.38Cr to Rs.20,105 Cr. Ironically the name of the scheme has been changed to ‘Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0’.

This is when the recent National Family Health Survey( NFHS – 5) has shown an increase in malnutrition in the period 2014-19. the UNICEF has recently pointed out that our country will lose three lakh children under five years in the next six months, due to poverty, hunger and malnutrition if this issue is urgently addressed. This huge number of our children which is in addition to the nearly 8.8 lakh under fives who die every year are pushed into such vulnerable position due to the lock down and closing of anganwadi centres due to lock down. Instead of strengthening the schemes for nutrition, health and education, the government is pushing for privatization and PPP model in these sectors.

In spite of the exemplary work done by the anganwadi workers and helpers along with other frontline workers like ASHA workers during the pandemic in fighting the pandemic as well as malnutrition, risking their lives the government has not considered even increasing their remuneration or assuring any kind of social security or pension to 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.

The budget which was full of rhetoric about the ‘atmanirbhar’ bharat and the $5 trillion economy, has cut down the budget allocation for the Mid Day Meal Scheme by Rs.1400Cr and the allocation for MNREGA by 41% from the last years revised estimates. There is only a nominal increase in the allocation for National Health Mission. The statement of the finance minister that the Labour Codes will ensure universal social security and statutory minimum wage for all is totally untrue. The scheme workers are not even categorized as workers in the codes.

In spite of the big struggles by the peasantry and the working class, this budget again proved that Modi government is not ready to change its policies of selling the national assets, giving tax concessions to the corporates. The government is completely surrendering to the corporates and imposing slavery on the working class as well as the peasantry through the notorious farm acts and labour codes.

AIFAWH call upon all the anganwadi workers and helpers to protest against the total neglect of the anganwadi workers and helpers in the central budget 2021-22. AIFAWH calls upon all the scheme workers to intensify the struggles for recognition as workers, minimum wages and pension.

Issued by
R. Sindhu
General Secretary

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