Thousands of anganwadi workers and helpers under the banner of All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers(AIFAWH),  braving heavy rains in most parts of the country observed “Black Day’ on 10 Jul 2023. 

This year AIFAWH decided to observe the demands day as Black Day’ in protest against the Modi government’s attempt to dismantle ICDS. Modi government has cut down the budget of ICDS drastically two times once in 2015, immediately after coming to power and second time in 2021 during the covid pandemic. In many parts of the country, the room rent for the anganwadi centres has not been paid for almost two years. Due to cut in budget, the nutritional food is not been supplied/ the payment has not been made for the food for months together in many parts of the country. Since 2018, the remuneration of the anganwadi workers and helpers has not been increased by the Modi government in spite of skyrocketing price rise. 

Without providing mobiles or data pack or regional language mobile app, the government is forcefully implementing the ‘Poshan Tracker App, and directs the workers to eliminate the beneficiaries without Aadhar cards and bank accounts. Workers are being harassed in the name of digitisation. 

The government is keeping mum on the Supreme Court order for implementing the payment of gratuity act for anganwadi workers and helpers even after one year of the order. The order of the supreme court as well as various parliamentary committees and Indian Labour conference for timely revision of wages and introduction of social security and pension have continuously being neglected.

In addition, the government is withdrawing from its responsibility to provide the nutrition and other services to the people, instead handing over the ICDS to corporates like Vedanta and Corporate NGOS like Akshayapatra.

When raising their voice against these anti people policies, workers and helpers are denied their trade union right and have to face victimization as well as heavy police repression. 

The call for “Black Day’, was reciprocated by the workers and helpers with massive participation in all the states. The anger of the workers was multiplied this year by the statement made by Minister for WCD, Smriti Irani that the anganwadi workers and helpers are working only for one hour a day. 

In various states the governments came out with various departmental programmes to sabotage the struggle. In states of Assam and Andhra Pradesh, the governments came out with orders to deny permission for the programme. Citing an order by the Ministry of WCD mentioning the struggle of AIFAWH, the governments have ordered measurers to ensure nutrition in the anganwadi centres. It is ridiculous that the Modi Government or the state governments which are not providing the nutrition supply in centres, suddenly came out to ensure in on struggle day! 

The programme was observed in AP, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, HP, J&K, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, Maharashtra, Punjab, Pondicherry, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telengana, UP and Uttarakhand. The program will be observed later in WB.

AIFAWH congratulates the anganwadi workers and helpers of the country and the hundreds of union activists who made the struggle a grand success. AIFAWH reiterate its resolve to defeat the government of corporate communal nexus at the centre in their efforts to dismantle the ICDS. We call upon the anganwadi workers and helpers to be prepared for more massive struggles in the coming days.

Issued by 
A R Sindhu
General Secretary

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