Anganwadi workers and anganwadi assistants spread across the State will be eligible for gratuity at the time of retirement, apart from monthly pension.

This was one of the important demands of the nearly 70,000 anganwadi workers and assistants for several years.

The Cabinet, which met here on Tuesday, also decided the age of superannuation for anganwadi workers and assistants. They will retire at age 60, unlike now where they continued to serve despite being senior citizens.

Briefing presspersons on the decisions taken at the Cabinet meeting, Minister for Higher Education V.S. Acharya said anganwadi workers and assistants who attain the age of 60 as on March 31 will retire from service along with all others serving in the same sector who have attained that age.

In all, around 3,000 of the 70,000 anganwadi workers and assistants are expected to retire on March 31, and the Government has made a special allocation of funds for paying them gratuity.

Henceforth, the Government, towards payment of gratuity, will collect Rs. 150 per month from the anganwadi workers and Rs. 75 per month from the assistants. The Government will provide a matching contribution and this amount will be parked with the Life Insurance Corporation and the employees will be paid gratuity at the time of superannuation. The anganwadi workers will be eligible for a pension of Rs. 500 and the assistants Rs. 300.

Honorarium

The Government has also agreed in principle to enhance the monthly honorarium of anganwadi workers and assistants by Rs. 500 and Rs. 200. The proposal is awaiting approval of the Finance Department, and thereafter Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

Anganwadi workers now get an honorarium of Rs. 2,500 and the assistants Rs. 1,250. They will also be eligible for a 15-day summer vacation from this year.

The Cabinet discussed a new Karnataka Integrated Agri-business Development Policy. Experts from various sectors have given their opinion to the Government largely aimed at value addition for agricultural produce and to ensure that farmers had gainful employment round the year.

With reference to shifting of stone-crushers located in the vicinity of residential areas, highways and villages, the Cabinet discussed the reports received from deputy commissioners in the districts. The State Government has made over an eight-point proposal to the High Court on shifting the stone-crushers. It has now been decided to seek two months from the court to arrive at a final conclusion on the matter.

Dr. Acharya said with the legislature session commencing from February 24, the Cabinet ratified the drafts of five legislation which would be tabled in both the Houses of the legislature.

This included the Karnataka Public Trust Act (to bring all secular charities in different regions of the State under a comprehensive law), the Karnataka Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Bill to provide reservation to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes (not exceeding the 50 per cent upper limit prescribed by the Supreme Court).

The Governor had promulgated an Ordinance in October and reservations in the recent panchayat elections were based on this. A draft of the amendments to the Karnataka Factories Act was also approved.