State govt to hike anganwadi workers' honorarium

State govt to hike anganwadi workers' honorarium

The state government on Monday agreed to increase the monthly honorarium of anganwadi workers and helpers by Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 respectively, after a two-hour meeting with representatives of anganwadi workers associations.

Anganwadi workers had staged a massive protest at Freedom Park here last month seeking monthly honorarium of Rs 10,000 for workers and Rs 7,500 for helpers.

The protest had seen dramatic moments with the police detaining many workers while those who were on hunger strike were forcibly removed from the venue after they fainted.

Including the hike announced in the 2017-18 budget, the monthly honorarium of an anganwadi worker now stands at Rs 8,000 while the helper gets Rs 4,000. The worker-cum-helper at mini anganwadis will take home Rs 5,250 a month.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told mediapersons that Monday’s increase was in addition to the similar hike announced in budget. “With the state government sharing more than Rs 6,000 of the Rs 8,000, it is not possible for us to meet their demand of Rs 10,000. However, in the last four years, the Congress government had increased the stipend of workers by Rs 4,400 and they are happy,” he added.

Centre next target
S Varalakshmi, president, Karnataka State Anganwadi Workers’ Association,  said anganwadi workers would not get justice as long as the Centre cuts funds to education, rural development and health sectors.

She said the Centre has reduced Rs 9,500 crore to key national programmes such as integrated child development scheme, midday meal, rural development and welfare schemes which has led to severe shortage of funds.

“We understand that the state government alone cannot fulfil all our requirements. We will soon stage protests in front of leaders representing the state in Parliament, seeking justice,” she said.

Varalakshmi said the state government should set up an expert committee to frame guidelines, which will act as service rules for anganwadi workers. “At present, the Centre has issued appointment rules. But there is no guideline on disciplinary measures. So workers can be dismissed for even minor mistakes. The guidelines will streamline this process,” she said.

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