The Maharashtra government on Thursday decided to withdraw the Maintenance of Essential Services and Maintenance Act (MESMA) against the anganwadi workers in Maharashtra. The decision was announced by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in the state Legislative Assembly. “The government has always been positive about considering the demands to ensure better living standards of anganwadi workers. Therefore, it had given a substantial monetary raise to them last year. The decision on MESMA was to ensure the health and nutrition services to the infant and lactating mothers in rural Maharashtra were not affected,” he said.
There are 97,000 anganwadi centres, employing two lakh workers. The estimate is, they look after 50 lakh children, under the age of six years in the state. Under the Integrated Child Development Scheme of Centre, these workers address the problems of health and nutrition of infant and lactating mothers.
“Now, the anganwadi workers have again threatened to go on strike. To prevent them from doing so, the state government had decided to invoke MESMA on them. However, considering the demands of legislators, we have now decided to stay the decision,” Fadnavis said.
MESMA facilitates the government to take employees for detention and register offence which are non-bailable.