Srinagar Dec 18: CPI-M leader and MLA Kulgam Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami has advocated for fulfilling the demands of Aganwari workers and helpers and releasing their wages pending for quite some months.
The insensitive approach of the state government towards the long pending legitimate grievances of Anganwadi workers and helpers is unfortunate. Their demands should be conceded forthwith,” he demanded. Social security benefits including promotion, gratuity, pension, provident fund, medical facilities etc should be provided to all anganwadi workers and helpers.
Flaying the government for “not heeding to the concerns of workers under Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS)”, Tarigami cautioned that such attitude has created uncertainty among these employees.
The Government of India’s proposed plan to dismantle the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme, the world’s largest food security project, will be resisted tooth and nail.
If ICDS is dismantled, not only will be the nutritional needs of ten crore Indian children under the age of six and nutrition levels of pregnant and lactating mothers from the most vulnerable sections of our society, compromised, but jobs of over 26 lakh Anganwadi workers and helpers, mostly from poor and oppressed sections of the society, will be under serious threat. The proposed cash transfer will sound the death knell of ICDS, which has earned worldwide recognition for its role in reducing severe malnutrition and bringing down infant mortality rate across the country.
The strange thing is that the incumbent BJP led government, instead of strengthening this poverty and health ameliorating programme, seems to be trying to derail it. In the past, there have been attempts by the corporate sector to enter the ICDS programme by substituting packed ready made food for freshly cooked meals. This is contrary to the spirit of the programme as well as the Supreme Court’s directives which prioritize decentralised, locally produced food made by women’s groups, thus providing both fresh food to children and employment to women.
In our state the incompetence of functionaries of the Social Welfare Department under which the ICDS is run has resulted in thousands of these centres going dry. Who is responsible for denying lakhs of kids of the state the nutritious diet as was envisaged under the ICDS? Somebody shall have to answer the question.
We immediately demand stopping privatisation of ICDS in any form in the name of Public Private Partnership, restructuring, regularise all anganwadi workers as Grade III and helpers as Grade IV government employees, minimum wages of skilled workers be paid to anganwadi workers and that of semi skilled workers to helpers; remuneration of anganwadi employees should be linked up with consumer price index, 10 percent annual increment should be given to both anganwadi workers and helpers.