Following more than three weeks of strike by anganwadi workers and helpers in the capital, the Delhi government announced Thursday that it will be increasing their honorariums by around Rs 3,000 for workers and around Rs 2,000 for helpers.
However, the Delhi State Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union (DSAWHU) have stated they will continue with their strike and protest at Civil Lines near the Chief Minister’s residence.
Hundreds of workers and helpers have been gathering at the Civil Lines protest site every day since January 31 demanding a substantial hike in their honorariums.
So far, anganwadi workers in Delhi have been receiving a monthly honorarium of Rs 9,678 and helpers have been receiving Rs 4,839. Their pay had been increased to this rate from Rs 5,000 and Rs 2,500 respectively, after they had gone on strike nearly five years ago in 2017. They have been demanding that this be increased to Rs 25,000 per month for workers and Rs 20,000 for helpers. There are currently around 22,000 workers and helpers employed in AWCs across Delhi.
On Thursday, Women and Child Development Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam announced that their honorariums are now being increased to Rs 12,720 and Rs 6,810 respectively and said that this hike will be implemented from March 1.
“Keeping in view of the rising inflation, and the recent strike, the Kejriwal government has taken the decision to once again increase the honorarium of anganwadi workers and helpers in Delhi… An anganwadi worker will be given an honorarium of Rs 11,220 along with which she will be given a conveyance/communication allowance of Rs 1,500. Hence a total of Rs 12,720 will be earned by each anganwadi worker. Similarly, an honorarium of Rs 5,610 will be given to each anganwadi helper along with which she will be given Rs 1,200 as conveyance/communication allowance. Hence a total of Rs 6,810 will be earned by each anganwadi helper. All workers and helpers will be able to spend on their travel and mobile etc through the conveyance/communication allowance,” he said.
He further said, “With this decision, Delhi becomes the only state in India to give the highest honorarium to anganwadi workers.” He stated that he had a meeting with some anganwadi workers’ unions a few days back after which they took this decision, and that the decision has been given Cabinet approval.
However, the protest is being led by the DSAWHU which said that they had not been invited for a meeting with the minister.
“He said he has spoken to some union… My question is who are these unions because they have not met with Delhi State Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union which has been conducting this strike…Till this union is not invited, the strike will not be called off… The government which is going to Punjab and telling anganwadi workers there that they will double their honorarium are giving this ‘bheek’ in Delhi,” said DSAWHU president Shivani Kaul.