Bhubaneswar: Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) who have been protesting in the city for the last 13 days intensified their agitation Saturday when around 7,000 members of All Odisha Anganwadi Ladies Workers Association (AOALWA) from Nuapada and Sundargarh districts staged a demonstration.
Their demands include a minimum wage of Rs 18,000 per month, a minimum pension of Rs 3,000 per month, implementation of 45th and 46th recommendations of Indian Labour Conference and job status to workers.
Many states have given permanent job status to Anganwadi employees and pay them between Rs 10, 000 and Rs 18,000. However, in Odisha, despite being a part of Industrial Disputes Act, the workers have neither a permanent government job status nor are paid minimum wage by the state government.
- Following a 40-day strike by the AWWs in October last year, the state announced a hike in their monthly remuneration but didn’t regularise them
- The salary of AWWs was enhanced to Rs 6,000 per month
- The hike didn’t pacify the workers as it was nowhere close to their demanded minimum wage
- Many states have given permanent job status to Anganwadi employees and pay them between Rs 10, 000 and Rs 18,000
It may be mentioned here that around 1.33 lakh AWWs have not been regularised even after working under Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) project for 42 years.
In October last year, the state government announced a hike in the monthly remuneration of AWWs following their meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The salary of AWWs was enhanced to Rs 6,000 per month and that of mini-AWWs and helpers to Rs 4,125 and Rs 3,000 respectively.
However, they were not happy with that and started demanding fulfilment of all their demands. They also demanded implementation of Parliamentary Committee recommendation in promoting AWWs to the posts of ANM, primary school teacher or similar state government jobs and immediate filling of at least 50 per cent supervisor posts by promoting the AWWs.
Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) leader Basanta Kumar Sahoo said the Chief Minister is highly respected at the Centre for the success he has achieved in women and child development. However, the people who actually work at the grassroots level are being overloaded with tasks and underpaid at the same time.
He further said, “CM has been giving us false promises for a long time. Our patience has now reached a breakdown point and the strike will continue and even intensify in the subsequent days till the government comes up with a solution with immediate effect.”