Fourth District Conference of Anganwadi Union, Gwalior
The fourth district conference of the Anganwadi Sevika Sahayika Ekta Union(CITU), Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh was held on 31 January 2010 at Gwalior. A R Sindhu, Secretary AIFAWH, inaugurated the conference. She elaborated on the government policies on ICDS and explained how these are sabotaging the very purpose of the scheme. She emphasized the need for organizational consolidation to further advance the movement.
Kamlesh Sharma, General Secretary, District Committee, placed the report and the accounts. Eleven delegates took part in the discussion. Brijesh Shrama, greeted the delegates on behalf of the Janwadi Mahila Samity and extended support to their struggles. Kishori Varma , state General Secretary, explained the decisions of the state committee to strengthen the struggle against extra work and the card punching system. District CITU leaders also greeted the conference.
The conference elected a 25 member committee with Manoj Kumar as Working President, Amita Saxena as President and Kamlesh Sharma as the General Secretary.
MP Protest against Increase in Working Hours
The Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Ekta Union, Madhya Pradesh, is revamping the organisation, overcoming the weaknesses, since 2006 with continuous struggles and education to develop cadres. The union took up several local level issues as well as state level issues and has been conducting struggles. This has resulted in the employees getting some benefits and the union getting strengthened.
From 2007 onwards, the union has been continuously raising the demand of enhancement of remuneration by the state government. It has taken up continuous campaign among the employees and held project and district level programmes .A state level rally was held in September 2008. The BJP government which never considered the demands of the anganwadi employees, or for that matter the demands of any section of the working class, was forced to enhance the remuneration by Rs.1,000 for workers and Rs.500 for helpers.
The government of India has directed the state governments to consider increasing the working hours of anganwadi centres. The BJP led Madhya Pradesh government, linking it with the recent enhancement in the remuneration, has issued an order increasing the working hours of the anganwadi centres to six hours. The same government, which had earlier included the anganwadi employees in the minimum wage notification, refused to pay them minimum wages. The union decided to take up this issue along with the other issues of non payment of the enhanced remuneration, delayed payment, pension and social security etc., Signatures were collected from anganwadi employees all over the state on a memorandum to the Chief Minister. District level demonstrations were held in which large numbers of anganwadi employees participated.
The state rally was held as a culmination of the first phase of this agitation, demanding implementation of minimum wages along with withdrawal of the increase in working hours.
Nearly 1,200 anganwadi workers and helpers gathered at Shahjahan Park and marched to the Vidhan Sabha. The mobilisation was affected because of a rally by the state youth Congress (I), due to which the roads were blocked and the rail traffic was affected. In spite of that the mobilisation exceeded our expectations due to the nature of the issue. As they reached the meeting place, it began to rain heavily. Daring the heavy rain, with water streaming down their clothes, the employees shouted slogans against the state and central governments. The charter of demands was read out to the anganwadi employees who gathered and passed unanimously with thundering slogans.
Later a five member delegation under the leadership met the Director ICDS and submitted the charter of demands. He gave a patient hearing to the delegation and assured immediate payment of all arrears. He also assured that he supports all the demands and will definitely take favourable action on them.
The union has decided to complete the signature campaign and start the second phase of agitation, if the assurances are not implemented within a reasonable time.