Anganwadi workers, helpers feel cheated

Saturday, 2 February 2019

“This is not even a half of the adequate allocation necessary for the increase announced in September 2018. Anganwadi workers and helpers will protest in Delhi on February 25, 2019." said Shamim.

PUNE: In the interim budget presented by the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal on Friday, the allocation for the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) has been increased from Rs 23,357 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 27,584 crore in 2019-20. Activists alleged that the budget has cheated the anganwadi workers and helpers and is delusional.

Speaking about the budget, Shubha Shamim, Vice-President, All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH) and Maharashtra State General Secretary of Anganwadi Karmachari Sanghatana, said that there has been no further increase in the remuneration for anganwadi workers and helpers.

“This is not even a half of the adequate allocation necessary for the increase announced in September 2018. Anganwadi workers and helpers will protest in Delhi on February 25, 2019. The budget has neglected not only the long-pending demands but also the crucial question of malnutrition in the country,” said Shamim.

An official statement issued by AIFAWH stated that the prime minister had announced an increase in the remuneration of anganwadi workers, mini workers and helpers on September 11, 2018. He had also assured that it would be implemented from October 1, 2018, and the workers would get it before Diwali. However, anganwadi workers and helpers in most of the states are yet to receive it. In the budget speech, the finance minister mentioned the increase in the remuneration of anganwadi and ASHA workers declared by the prime minister in September in such a way to create an impression that there is a further increase in the remuneration.

“The budget figures reveal that the allocation is not even adequate to implement the increase announced by the government in September 2018. The PIB release on September 11, 2018, says that the additional budgetary allocation necessary for the increase for a period from October 1, 2018, to March 31, 2020, is Rs 10,649.41 crores. Sixty per cent of this amount, which is required for the increased remuneration for a year, will be Rs 4,259 crores. But the allocation for Anganwadi Services in the budget for Umbrella ICDS for 2019-20 is only Rs 19,834.37 crore, an increase only by Rs 1,944.18 crore from the last year’s revised budget of Rs 17,870.19 crore,” said Shamim.

The official statement also added that the budget does not mention anything about the pension for anganwadi employees which the government has been promising since 2014.

“The irony is that the central government stated in September 2017 that it is going to spend Rs 12,000 crore for the increased allocation for the supplementary nutrition in anganwadi centres. This means an additional Rs 6,000 crore per year for nutrition. But neither the budget last year nor this year includes this allocation. It is obvious that the Modi-led BJP government, even in this election budget, tried to misguide anganwadi workers and helpers as well as the people of the country while neglecting the two crore mothers and 10 crore children under six years. There is no allocation or mention on converting anganwadi centres to full-time crèches. On the contrary, the government has already decided to introduce direct cash transfer in place of nutrition ICDS and has started two pilot projects,” said the statement.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Kiran Moghe, All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) said that the budget is delusional.

“The ICDS budget has been decreasing over last four years and now, in the election year, it is showing that the government has increased the budget which is clearly politics,” said Moghe.

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