New Delhi, May 4 (ANI): Hundreds of village-level Anganwadi (rural community-level crhche) workers from various parts of India staged a protest march and later a demonstration in New Delhi on Tuesday.
This rally demanding higher wages, job security and status of government servants with privileges of pension and allied retirement benefits for the Anganwadi workers, was held under the banner of All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers, which is affiliated to CITU (Centre of Indian Trade Unions), the labour wing of Communist Party of India-Marxist).
They said that their wages were far below the minimum wages fixed by the government for unskilled labourers and not sufficient even for subsistence.
"Our first demand is that the Anganwadi women should be treated as employees. The government addresses them as social workers and gives them only 1500 rupees as salary. At least they should be given a proper salary with which they can at least survive. The government has said there is price rise, so they should get the salary according to that," said M K Pandhe, CPM Politburo member.
"The standard of living is very low, when they retire they don't get any provident fund, they don't get any social security, they security for home, which is very wrong. When we go to the government, they say that something will be done but they don't do anything," he added.
"Our main demand is that the Anganwadi women whom the government doesn't even consider as employees and gives them very less money. A worker only gets 1500 rupees and helper gets only 750 rupees a month. So our demand is that the Anganwadi women or the helper should get at least the basic salary," said Hemlata, General Secretary of All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers.
"This recommendation has been made by the Parliament's Rajya Sabha petition Committee, which says that the Anganwadi workers should get the basic salary," she added.
She also mentioned that they would put forth their demands to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
Anganwadi workers play a crucial role in providing childcare in rural India. They are trained in various aspects of childcare, health and nutrition.
Apart from routine tasks, the Anganwadi workers are also engaged in various other government schemes such as pre-school and health education, maintenance of records of births and deaths, administration of pulse-polio drops, and provision of supplementary nutrition to pregnant and lactating mothers and children up to the age of six.
There are around 1.5 million women workers engaged in the Anganwadi projects across the country. (ANI)