Anganwadi workers, helpers continue protests against SAC decision
Srinagar : The Anganwadi workers and helpers working under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme continued their protests against the State Administrative Council’s (SAC) decision to disburse their honorariums through Gram Panchayats. Hundreds of workers under the banner of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union Jammu and Kashmir affiliated with CITU raising slogans against the SAC decision demanded its immediate roll-back. They said disbursing honorarium through Gram Panchayats can pave way for corruption and harassment of the workers and helpers. “We not only demand roll back of this arbitrary decision but also making the ICDS permanent and increase in budgetary allocation for the ICDS. The government must also pay minimum wages, social security and pension to us as recommended by 45th ILC,” the protesting workers demanded as per KNO correspondent. They said that they will fight against the government move to privatize the ICDS in any form and involvement of corporate companies or NGOs in the ICDS. “We also demand strengthening of ICDS, converting anganwadis into anganwadi-cum-crèches, increase in allocation for nutrition and strengthening and retaining the pre-school education in ICDS,” the workers demanded. The protesters said the supervision of Anganwari centers are done by the ICDS department and they don’t object the Coordination with Panchayati Raj Institutions in running the Anganwari centers. “But the panchayats must provide resources to the Anganwari centre like it is being done in Kerala, where they provide additional food, milk, eggs toys, uniforms etc for children. But here, instead of following that model, only monitoring part has been given to panchayats. The salary to the Anganwari staff will be released only after the certification of the panchayats which can lead to corruption and harassment of the workers and helpers. This was tried in many states and the decision was taken back there after it failed,” they said. The protesting workers said, “If the panchayats have to monitor why don’t they monitor all services and link the salary of all government employees to panchayat certification? We have been handed over to Panchs and Sarpanchs which is unacceptable to us. We are working with the ICDS for the last 40- years with honor and dignity. We want our department to take care of our salaries. The decision was aimed to humiliate us.” “We have worked for the State, but it is unfortunate that we are being neglected by the government now.” The protest rally was addressed by Haneefa, Lateefa, Misra, Mubeena, Hajira,Zona, Haleema, Daisy and Meema , Aganwadi leaders.