statesman news service
New Delhi, 10 July
Six lakh anganwadi workers and helpers all over the country today observed a “black day” against the Women and Child Development Ministry’s opposition to the recent Indian Labour Conference (ILC) decision to accord them worker status and thus make them eligible for minimum wages.
The All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers which organised the protest, said the
45th ILC had unanimously adopted a recommendation to give the anganwadi workers, engaged by government schemes, worker status.
The decision had come after years of struggle by the workers who are mostly women and receive nominal payments.
The federation said Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath had recently advocated treating housewives as workers and eligible for “salaries”.
However, when it came to implement the ILC recommendation on the anganwadi workers, and honour the women’s “unpaid labour”, she had opposed it, the federation added.
The federation said the government planned to “dismantle” the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme through privatisation of pre-school education and handing over the service to NGOs and corporates.
This would put the future of the anganwadi workers in jeopardy, it said.
The federation, in a statement, said the anganwadi workers wore black dresses and holding black banners, held demonstrations and dharnas and rallies in district and state headquarters in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tripura,
Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh and West
In Kerala, due to the hartal in the state against the government, the protest will be held on 19 July.
In Uttarakhand, due to the involvement of the unions in relief work, only a memorandum was submitted.
In Andhra Pradesh, the state anganwadi union has been on a three-day strike on 8, 9 and 10 July.