The Karnakata State Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers affiliated to the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) has demanded minimum monthly pension of ₹3,000 and other social benefits for retired anganwadi workers and helpers.
Speaking to presspersons here on Monday, federation president S.F. Samudri and district convenor N.A. Kazi said that 43 years have gone by since the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) project was implemented for the first time in the country.
It was one of the revolutionary government-funded programmes which played a decisive role in ensuring providing nutritious food, preschool education and primary healthcare for children aged less than six and their mothers. Moreover, the State has been proactive in the implementation of this scheme.
However, the welfare of anganwadi workers and helpers who play a key role in implementing ICDS has not been taken into consideration.
After retirement, their life turns miserable as they are not entitled to pension and other social benefits, they said.
Successive governments at the Centre have ignored their demand for justifiable honorarium and post-retirement benefits.
Blow from Centre
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre has given a severe blow to ICDS by gradual reduction in grants. This apart, it has not enhanced honorarium for the last four years. Recently, the Union government announced a hike in honorarium following nationwide agitation and in the backdrop of the upcoming general elections, they said.
However, the demand for pension is yet to be fulfilled. Anganwadi workers and helpers are given ₹50,000 at the time of retirement. But they have to run from pillar to post to receive the amount, they said.
The federation demands fixing minimum monthly pension of ₹3,000 for retired anganwadi workers and helpers and coverage for serving workers and helpers under the New Pension Scheme, they added.
Mr. Kazi said that the workers and helpers are not getting their honorarium at a time in the State. Honorarim amount is paid once in three or four months. The federation would hold a district-level protest rally here on October 22 to exert pressure on the government to fulfil their long-pending demands, he added.