Anganwadi workers hit the street for better salaries

Anganwadi workers and their helpers across Gujarat have demanded an increase in salary and pay parity with their counterparts in other states.

At present, the Centre pays each anganwadi worker Rs 1,500 and the state government another Rs 1,000. A helper is paid Rs 750 and Rs 500 by the Centre and the state government respectively.

The Centre had, in February, announced in the Budget that anganwadi workers and helpers will be paid double their prevailing salary. But even after four months, the scheme is yet to be implemented.

According to the anganwadi workers, even if the Centre were to double their salaries, their total income would come to Rs 4,000, while the helpers will get Rs 2,000. But this would still be very less compared to the pay scale in other states, the Gujarat Anganwadi Workers Committee said in a press release.

Gujarat Anganwadi Workers Committee president Neeru Ahir said: "The state government takes our help in all their projects, but don't pay us anything. As of now our workers and helpers get Rs 2,500 and Rs 1,250 in total, which is very less."

She added: "The workers don't even get festival bonus and the retirement age is fixed at 58 years. In other states, the retirement age is 65 years, and in some states no retirement age is fixed and a worker can work as per her wish."

On Monday, the workers took out rallies in Vadodara, Rajkot, Ahmedabad, Bharuch, Navsari,Valsad and Anand amid heavy rains and demanded that the Centre provide them with provisions like Provident Fund, Gratuity and Pension as per the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.

The Committee has put forward their demands to the PM, the chief minister and the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

On the recent inclusion of anganwadi workers in conducting the caste census, Ahir said: "We will decide on it depending on the working hours. At present, we work for four hours and get paid for the same." Committee members added that if their demands are not met, then 30,000 workers will take out a rally to Gandhinagar during the Assembly session in August.

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