The government and the Congress on Thursday sparred over the ongoing protests by anganwadi workers in Karnataka, with Union Minister Ananth Kumar saying the Congress-ruled state was not doing enough for them. The issue was raised by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge during Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha and urged the Centre to increase the honorarium for them. Warning that there would be larger agitation if the issues are not addressed, Kharge, who is from Karnataka, said the Centre has reduced the allocation towards anganwadi workers which has increased the burden on the state governments.
In response, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, who is also from Karnataka, said the state government was not giving what should be given to the anganwadi workers. Alleging that Kharge has twisted the facts, Kumar asked him not to shed crocodile tears on the issue. His remarks elicited protests from the Congress members.
While asserting that the Centre was with the anganwadi workers, Kumar said many posts pertaining to anganwadis are yet to be filled in the state. He also said the state government was yet to provide details on alleged shortfall in the spending of funds allocated by the Centre towards Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) for 2015-16.
Raising another issue, Congress member Abhijit Mukherjee said around 400 people, who are bonafide citizens, have been detained by Assam authorities on the grounds that they were illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Mukherjee, who represents Jangipur in West Bengal, said these people are from his constituency and their detention was uncalled for.