Lakhs of anganwadi workers observe ‘Lalkar Diwas’

They demand recognition and rights as workers, safety gear, insurance, and risk allowance when on Covid- 19 duty

While politicians and celebrities may be wary of holding a physical protest, even with full Covid-19 protocol in place, nearly three lakh anganwadi workers and helpers stepped out to demand their rights. Blazing bright in red outfits and red masks covering their mouths and noses, they demanded safety gear, insurance and risk allowance when assigned on Covid- 19 duty. The anganwadi workers also seek recognition as workers, with the right to minimum wages and pension and social security, and most importantly, an increased budget allocation for Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).

The ICDS is the government run scheme that has been set up to provide “food, preschool education, primary healthcare, immunization, health check-up and referral services to children under six years of age and their mothers”. On Friday, July 10 Anganwadi workers and helpers from 22 states;  Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Pondicherry, Rajasthan, Telangana, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, observed an “Demands’ Day” at the call of the All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH). Workers in Karnataka, will launch a three-day event on July 13.

The nearly 26 lakh anganwadi workers and helpers are also being tasked to work as front-line workers and go for door to door campaign including distributing supplementary nutrition, pensions etc to beneficiaries, educating them on Covid related protocols, conducting surveys of patients, and if asked even monitoring those under quarantine. However according to A R Sindhu, Secretary CITU and General Secretary AIFAWH, the workers have not been given any safety gear to the workers, “nor are they covered under any insurance scheme.”

The workers have submitted a memorandum to their local authorities, to be forwarded to the Prime Minister and WCD Minister. 

They have demanded :

1.   Double the allocation to ICDS urgently. Increase the quantity and quality of nutrition supply to the beneficiaries. 

2.     Recognise anganwadi workers and Helpers as workers, Pay minimum wages Rs.30,000 pm to workers, and Rs.21000 to Helpers; Equal wages to Mini Workers; Provide Pension, ESI, PF etc as per the recommendations of 45th and 46th ILC

3.     Provide safety gear for all anganwadi workers and helpers, especially those in the health sector; PPEs for those who are engaged in containment areas and red zones; free Covid-19 test of all frontline workers 

4.     Rs 50 lakhs insurance cover to all frontline workers covering all deaths on duty; coverage of treatment for Covid-19 for the entire family. 

5.     Make ICDS permanent with adequate budget allocation. No privatisation in any form; No Cash Transfers in ICDS; Convert all Mini centres to Full Centres;

6.     Additional Covid Risk Allowance of Rs.25,000 per month for all anganwadi workers and helpers engaged in Covid -19 duty. Payment of all the pending dues immediately

7.     Compensation of minimum Rupees Ten lakhs for all those who got infected while on duty

8.     Strengthen the ECCE in anganwadis. 

9.     Ensure food, healthcare, education, income, jobs and shelter to all

10.   No increase in working hours from 8 to 12 hours; No freezing of Labour Laws

11.  No Privatisation of PSEs and services

12.  Withdraw the ordinances on agricultural trade and ECA immediately



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