Anganwadi Workers, Helpers stage protest across State

Anganwadi Workers and Helpers staging protest outside DC Office, Jammu. -Excelsior/Rakesh
Anganwadi Workers and Helpers staging protest outside DC Office, Jammu. -Excelsior/Rakesh

*Demand roll back of SAC decision on honorarium

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, July 22: Thousands of Anganwadi Workers and Anganwadi Helpers drawn from various ICDS Projects of Jammu Division under the banner of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union (AWHU) held a massive protest demonstration in various parts of the State.
In Jammu, the protest was held outside DC Office. The protestors were demanding immediate revocation of recent SAC decision of disbursement of honorarium of Anganwadi Workers (AWW) and Anganwadi Helpers (AWH) under ICDS through Corporator/Councillor/Gram Panchayats. They were also demanding release of increased State share of honorarium at the rate of Rs 500 and Rs 400 in favour of AWW & AWH announced vide Order No -215-SW-2018 dated 21-08-2018 by the Governor, stating that till date no such order has been implemented.

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The protest demonstration was addressed by Suman Suri (president of AWHU), Nirmal Sharma (general secretary), Mahajbeen (vice president) besides Zaida (AWW), Monica (AWW) and Lalita Gupta (AWH). All the speakers maintained that AWW and AWH are 100% women work force. “Their services are utilized for host of other activities Pulse Polio Vaccination, Survey of Leprocy, Implementation of Health Services, Election Duties, Aadhar Card, Census, Verification of Ration Cards, etc other than ICDS,” they said, adding AWWs and AWHs are being exploited as bonded workers of the State for a meagre honorarium of Rs 5000 and Rs 2500, respectively.
The Speakers very strongly rejected the SAC Order regarding disbursement of honorarium to AWWs and AWHs through Corporator/Councillor/Gram Panchayats and termed it as unacceptable. They cautioned the Government to immediately withdraw this controversial order failing which they shall be forced to come on roads to protect their honour and dignity and consequences there of shall lie on the Governor Administration.
The leaders demanded that Anganwadi Workers and Helpers who have completed 10 years or more regular service be given minimum wage grade and regularized, provision of 10% PPF/GPF be ordered in their favour, mediclaim policy may be extended to them, they be brought under ESI (Employees State Insurance), Rs 5 lakh to Anganwadi Worker and Rs 3 lakh to Anganwadi Helpers be given on their retirement and immediate release of increased honorarium of the State share of Rs 500 and Rs 400 per month to AWWs and AWHs.
Meanwhile, Anganwari Workers and Helpers also staged protest at Saheed Bhagat Singh Park, Dabbar Chowk in Udhampur district against Government and demanded to roll back the Government order in which ICDS Department is directed to pay the honorarium to the Anganwari workers and helpers through Panchayats.
A similar protest was also held at Kargil. The protesters under the banner of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Association (Kargil-Leh) raised slogans against SAC decision. They also sat on dharna at new bus stand and hampered the traffic on Kargil-Baroo Road.
Zahra Banoo, president of the Association, said that disbursing honorarium through Gram Panchayats can pave way for corruption and harassment of these Anganwadi workers and Helpers. She not only demanding rollback of this arbitrary decision but also asserted for making ICDS employees permanent and increase their budgetary allocation.