Pune: Around two lakh anganwadi sevikas and helpers across the State will be going on an indefinite strike from September 11, due to the meagre remuneration and negligence on part of the government to recognise them as government servants.
The anganwadi workers will also protest at Azad Maidan in Mumbai on September 12 and will hold a march at Zila Parishad, Pune, and ICDS office, Pune on September 18.
Speaking to the media about the issue, Shubha Shamim of Maharashtra State Anganwadi Workers Action Committee said, “Around two lakh anganwadi workers are working under the Women and Child Development Department in the State. While the anganwadi sevikas are paid a remuneration of Rs 5,000 per month, the helpers are paid Rs 2,500. It’s not possible to make a living out of such a meagre income in today’s world. Even though the workers are appointed by the government and are made to work in all the government schemes and activities, they aren’t recognised as government servants and aren’t paid accordingly.”
She also added that in many other states like Kerala, Goa, Delhi, Telangana, etc, the anganwadi employees are paid much higher than in Maharashtra. “Pondicherry has recognised us as government servants and the anganwadi workers there will also be paid according to the seventh pay commission in future,” Shamim added.
The Committee is demanding that the anganwadi sevikas be recognised as government servants and paid the minimum remuneration accordingly. Also, the anganwadi helpers are to be paid 75 per cent of the remuneration for the sevikas.
Nitin Pawar of the Action Committee said that anganwadi workers play a major role in creating the citizens of tomorrow.
“This movement should become a public movement as anganwadi workers do a noble work for the society. They have made a great contribution towards making India ‘polio-free’ and even now, their work, especially in rural areas, is magnificent.”
Talking about the inefficiency of the Women and Child Development Minister Pankaja Munde, another member of the committee and an anganwadi sevika Rajni Pisal said, “How does Munde plan to bring about women empowerment in the State, when she is clearly neglecting the welfare of so many women in the State?”