Port Blair, June 27: The All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (CITU) has demanded an increase in the remuneration of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers working in Andaman & Nicobar Islands. In a letter sent to the Chief Secretary, Andaman & Nicobar Administration with a copy to the Secretary to the Department of Women & Child Development, Govt. of India, AR Sindhu, General Secretary of the Federation demanded to increase the remuneration of Anganwadi Workers to Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 10,000 for Helpers. AR Sindhu brought to the notice of the Chief Secretary that in the Union Territory of Pondicherry, the Anganwadi Workers and Helpers have been absorbed as Special Category Government Employees and are paid a salary at par with the 6th Pay Commission Grade III and Grade IV government employees. She further said that in Tamil Nadu, they are paid a special pay scale with DA and other facilities.
General Secretary of the All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers & Helpers further brought to the notice of the Chief Secretary that the Supreme Court of India in an order in April, 2022 has directed that the Anganwadi Workers and Helpers are entitled for Gratuity under Payment of Gratuity Act. The Federation requested the Chief Secretary to take immediate measures to implement this order of the Supreme Court and further requested to ensure ex gratia and pension to Anganwadi Workers and Helpers on retirement as has been done in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, etc.
Sindhu further brought to the notice of the Chief Secretary that Anganwadi Workers and Helpers are not getting even this meager amount of wages on a monthly basis. She said that most of the time the wages are pending for several months. Many times, the wages are paid only partly, reportedly due to non-availability of central funds.
She further brought to the notice of the Chief Secretary that a large number of Anganwadi Centres are functioning in rented rooms and the rent at prescribed rates are not paid for months together in one or other protests and the onus of payment of rents comes to Anganwadi Workers. As the owners are threatening to evict the Anganwadi Centres, the Workers are forced to pay the rent out of their pockets. She requested the Chief Secretary to ensure that all the pending wages and rent is released immediately and it will be paid monthly on time to the Anganwadi Workers and Helpers.
The Anganwadi Federation further demanded a bipartite grievance redressal mechanism for the Anganwadi Workers and Helpers with the Administration with regular meetings where the Union can discuss their issues and demands and the issues can be resolved in a democratic manner.