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UP: Anganwadi workers, MDM cooks and ASHA workers non paid wages for months!

Workers decry the government's failure to address fiscal issues addressed in their own manifestoes

Sabrangindia 30 Oct 2021

Uttar PradeshImage Courtesy:indiatoday.in

Pandemic or no pandemic, experts and legal provisions like the National Food Security Act (NFSA) repeatedly highlight the importance of mid-day meal schemes and anganwadis in India. Yet recently, Uttar Pradesh workers, who keep such machineries going, complained of severe economic conditions due to government negligence.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, workers complained about the lack of gloves, sanitisers, masks and other protective gear. Now, after surviving the second wave of Coronavirus, Mau anganwadi worker Bina Rai said she suffered from fever, cold and severe fatigue.

“The weather is changing and we’re yet to receive our payment for the last two to three months. On [October 30] morning, I fainted from exhaustion. I finally went to the hospital for an ECG test. But it isn’t easy. I don’t have money and no one will lend me any money either,” said Rai.

She said that the sorry state of their finances was common knowledge among people. Accordingly, people hesitated to lend them money, unsure of whether the women can repay the debt. Rai said that she was supposed to receive Rs. 5,500 monthly for her work, that includes distribution of dry ration to pregnant women and small children.

Items like lentils, wheat, rice and refined oil are included in such packages. However, the amount of grains procured so far can only be distributed among 55-60 percent of pregnant women and children documented by anganwadi workers. Moreover, Rai said the government is yet to allow for the procurement and distribution of the rice that arrived at the ration distributor’s place two months ago. The ration remains there in the office, unused for weeks.

Above all, Rai’s frustration stems from the fact that the government continues to ignore their complaints despite addressing their salary concerns in their manifestoes. “The authorities are simply ruining festivals for all of us. So many mothers in our union cannot buy things for their own children,” she said.

This sentiment was echoed by Varanasi’s anganwadi leader Usha Singh. Singh’s daughter is soon to be married in a few days but her grievances with the government have left a bitter taste in her mouth. She asked, “I am struggling to make ends meet here. The government makes us do everything. Why not pay us?” 

Anganwadi workers are not the only ones unhappy with the government. On October 29, NDTV reported that four lakh cooks preparing mid-day meals in government primary schools haven’t received payment for the last eight months. Each cook receives Rs. 1,500 monthly. Like anganwadis, cooks reported that they cannot avail loans either because of their infrequent earnings. According to NDTV, over 3.95 lakh cooks work in 1,68,768 schools to feed 1.80 crore children. For this, they receive Rs. 50 every day.

Similarly, ASHA workers across India complained about their meagre salaries i.e., a monthly incentive of Rs. 2,000 and an additional Rs. 1,000 for Covid-19 duties.

The Uttar Pradesh government sanctioned Rs. 750 per month from its budget and the average ASHA payment in the State is Rs. 4,270 per month. However, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) volunteers said that hundreds of ASHAs across the state suffered backlogs in payment and often withholding of payment as well.

From September 20 to October 2, ASHA workers started a Desh ki ASHA campaign where they demanded all benefits guaranteed under various schemes regarding fiscal, food and health security. Tired of repeatedly demonstrating, workers like anganwadi women said, “We don’t know what else to do anymore.”

Related:

Is India exploiting its ASHA workers?
Dengue spreads in UP: Lucknow medical team arrives in Firozabad
Remove Chandramukhi Devi from NCW: Anganwadi Workers group

UP: Anganwadi workers, MDM cooks and ASHA workers non paid wages for months!

Workers decry the government's failure to address fiscal issues addressed in their own manifestoes

Uttar PradeshImage Courtesy:indiatoday.in

Pandemic or no pandemic, experts and legal provisions like the National Food Security Act (NFSA) repeatedly highlight the importance of mid-day meal schemes and anganwadis in India. Yet recently, Uttar Pradesh workers, who keep such machineries going, complained of severe economic conditions due to government negligence.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, workers complained about the lack of gloves, sanitisers, masks and other protective gear. Now, after surviving the second wave of Coronavirus, Mau anganwadi worker Bina Rai said she suffered from fever, cold and severe fatigue.

“The weather is changing and we’re yet to receive our payment for the last two to three months. On [October 30] morning, I fainted from exhaustion. I finally went to the hospital for an ECG test. But it isn’t easy. I don’t have money and no one will lend me any money either,” said Rai.

She said that the sorry state of their finances was common knowledge among people. Accordingly, people hesitated to lend them money, unsure of whether the women can repay the debt. Rai said that she was supposed to receive Rs. 5,500 monthly for her work, that includes distribution of dry ration to pregnant women and small children.

Items like lentils, wheat, rice and refined oil are included in such packages. However, the amount of grains procured so far can only be distributed among 55-60 percent of pregnant women and children documented by anganwadi workers. Moreover, Rai said the government is yet to allow for the procurement and distribution of the rice that arrived at the ration distributor’s place two months ago. The ration remains there in the office, unused for weeks.

Above all, Rai’s frustration stems from the fact that the government continues to ignore their complaints despite addressing their salary concerns in their manifestoes. “The authorities are simply ruining festivals for all of us. So many mothers in our union cannot buy things for their own children,” she said.

This sentiment was echoed by Varanasi’s anganwadi leader Usha Singh. Singh’s daughter is soon to be married in a few days but her grievances with the government have left a bitter taste in her mouth. She asked, “I am struggling to make ends meet here. The government makes us do everything. Why not pay us?” 

Anganwadi workers are not the only ones unhappy with the government. On October 29, NDTV reported that four lakh cooks preparing mid-day meals in government primary schools haven’t received payment for the last eight months. Each cook receives Rs. 1,500 monthly. Like anganwadis, cooks reported that they cannot avail loans either because of their infrequent earnings. According to NDTV, over 3.95 lakh cooks work in 1,68,768 schools to feed 1.80 crore children. For this, they receive Rs. 50 every day.

Similarly, ASHA workers across India complained about their meagre salaries i.e., a monthly incentive of Rs. 2,000 and an additional Rs. 1,000 for Covid-19 duties.

The Uttar Pradesh government sanctioned Rs. 750 per month from its budget and the average ASHA payment in the State is Rs. 4,270 per month. However, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) volunteers said that hundreds of ASHAs across the state suffered backlogs in payment and often withholding of payment as well.

From September 20 to October 2, ASHA workers started a Desh ki ASHA campaign where they demanded all benefits guaranteed under various schemes regarding fiscal, food and health security. Tired of repeatedly demonstrating, workers like anganwadi women said, “We don’t know what else to do anymore.”

Related:

Is India exploiting its ASHA workers?
Dengue spreads in UP: Lucknow medical team arrives in Firozabad
Remove Chandramukhi Devi from NCW: Anganwadi Workers group

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