New Delhi [India]: Delhi Cabinet Minister for Social Welfare Rajendra Pal Gautam on Sunday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party is behind the “continued strike” of the Anganwadi workers and helpers despite their demand for a hike in honorarium being fulfilled by the state government, and said that strict action would be taken against them who do not return to work.
Notably, the Anganwadi workers and helpers have been protesting against the Delhi as well as the Central government under the banner of Delhi State Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union since January 31, demanding the honorarium of the Anganwadi workers to be hiked to Rs 25,000 and helpers to Rs 20,000.
Besides this demand, they had also demanded an increase in the honorarium along with arrears. Giving Anganwadi workers the status of government employees was one of their demands.
Speaking on the matterI, Gautam said, “Protest is also happening at the gate of our Women and Child Development Department office of ISBT. Our secretary has complained to the police in the matter that the work is being obstructed.
We have given them show-cause notice. Yesterday, some have also been terminated, further action will be taken against those who do not come on duty.”
The Delhi Cabinet Minister said that the government has increased their honorarium twice since 2017.
“Considering the demand of Anganwadi workers and helpers sitting on protest, we have increased their honorarium. Since this is a centrally sponsored scheme, an honorarium of Rs 4,550 for Anganwadi workers and Rs 2,250 for helpers has been fixed by the central government. Out of this, 60 per cent has to be given by the Centre and the remaining 40 per cent by the state government.
But in 2017, we had increased the honorarium on our own and we have done it again,” he said.
Giving a comparative study of the hike in the honorarium from the Centre and state government’s part, Gautam said that the Delhi government has increased it to Rs 12,720, of which the Centre has contributed Rs 2,700.
“Now the honorarium of Anganwadi workers in Delhi has increased to Rs 12,720. In this, the central government is giving only Rs 2,700, while the Delhi government is giving Rs 10,020. At the same time, we have increased the honorarium of the helpers to Rs 6,810, of which the central government is giving only Rs 910 and we are giving Rs 5,900,” he said.
The Cabinet Minister further alleged that the protest is politically motivated as it is continuing even after the announcement of a hike in honorarium.
“Despite this announcement of the honorarium hike and its implementation by the cabinet, the continuation of the strike shows that it is politically motivated. In view of MCD elections, political parties are shooting off the shoulders of Anganwadi workers.
BJP knows that it’s 15 years of rule in MCD is being rejected by the public, so this protest is being done. We have also received a letter from the Central Women’s Commission that arrangements for cleanliness and water should be made at the protest site, whereas they should have written a letter to the Central Government,” he said.
Alleging that the workers want to return to work, the Cabinet Minister said that the workers have written to the department about the same that the leader of the union is not letting them restart the work.
“The Anganwadi workers and helpers involved in the protest want to return to work, but there are some goonda elements among them, who are stopping them. Many workers have written a letter to the department that our honorarium has been increased, now we want to work, but the leader of this union, Shivani Kaul and some of her colleagues are not letting us work,” Gautam said