Srinagar, August 01,: Anganwadi workers and helpers Union J&K protested against the State Administrative Council’s decision to disburse their honorariums through Panchayats.
Hundreds of workers under the banner of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union J&K affiliated with CITU assembled at Nishat Park, Bandipora raising slogans against the SAC decision demanded its immediate roll-back. They said disbursing honorarium through Panchayats can pave way for corruption and harassment.
“We not only demand rollback of this arbitrary decision but also making the ICDS permanent and increase in budgetary allocation for the ICDS. The government must also pay minimum wages, social security and pension to us as recommended by 45th Indian Labour Conference,” the protesting workers demanded.
They said that they will fight against the government move to privatize the ICDS in any form and involvement of corporate companies or NGOs in the ICDS. “We also demand the strengthening of ICDS, converting anganwadis into anganwadi-cum-crèches, increase in allocation for nutrition and strengthening and retaining the pre-school education in ICDS.
The protesters said the supervision of Anganwari centers are done by the ICDS department and they don’t object the Coordination with Panchayati Raj Institutions in running the Anganwari centers.
“But the panchayats must provide resources to the Anganwari centre like it is being done in Kerala, where they provide additional food, milk, eggs toys, uniforms etc for children. But here, instead of following that model, only monitoring part has been given to panchayats. The salary to the Anganwari staff will be released only after the certification of the panchayats which can lead to corruption and harassment of the workers and helpers. This was tried in many states and the decision was taken back thereafter it failed.
“If the panchayats have to monitor why don’t they monitor all services and link the salary of all government employees to panchayat certification? We have been handed over to Panchs and Sarpanchs which is unacceptable to us. We are working with the ICDS for the last 40- years with honor and dignity. We want our department to take care of our salaries. The decision was aimed to humiliate us.” “We have worked for the State, but it is unfortunate that we are being neglected by the government now.”
The protestors took out a rally from Nishat Park and marched to Dy Commissioner’s office where they presented a memorandum of demands. The Dy Commissioner assured that their genuine grievances would be redressed.
The protest rally was addressed by Abdul Rashid Najar senior CITU leader, Haleema, Mysera, Amina Parveen, Sakeena, Nelofar Aganwadi leaders.