Srinagar, November 21: Alleging that the weaker and marginalized sections of society have been left to fend for themselves by the Government, CPI (M) leader and MLA Kulgam Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami urged the State government to release the wages in favour of Anganwadi workers and helpers pending for several months without any further delay.
The weaker and poorer sections of the society have been totally neglected by the government which has severely hit their means of livelihood. The meagre wages of Anganwadi workers and helpers have not been paid by the Government for the last several months, compounding their miseries. Some of the Anganwadi workers are widows, who are the sole breadwinners of their respective families. How will they manage without if government has stopped their wages? The callous attitude of authorities has created uncertainty among these workers.
Although Anganwadi workers and helpers have forced the Union government to announce an increase in their remuneration, the basic issues of recognition, pension and social security has still not been addressed. The meagre hike in wages is not going to address the burning issues of Anganwadi workers and helpers, as their families are dependent on them.
The administrative apathy towards their genuine issues is against justice and fair play. Social security benefits including promotion, gratuity, pension, provident fund, medical facilities, etc., should be provided to all Anganwadi workers and helpers.
He also cautioned the Government to stop the move to introduce direct/conditional cash transfers and packaged food in ICDS. The ICDS is a unique outreach programme to meet the nutritional needs of crores of children under the age of six and to improve the nutrition levels of pregnant and lactating mothers from the most vulnerable sections of our society. ICDS plays a vital role in a country which is home to 190 million undernourished people – the highest in the world. Locally acceptable food freshly prepared in the Anganwadi centres should be served to the beneficiaries and not ‘Ready to Eat food’. There should be no Take Home Ration.
The weakening of ICDS can lead to overall weakening of the trade union movement, particularly among the women and rural workers. Considering all these aspects, it is important to fight and defeat this move.