Hundreds of anganwadi workers and assistants, under the banner of the Karnataka State Anganwadi Workers’ and Assistants’ Federation, staged a protest outside the Deputy Commissioner's office in Dharwad on Saturday.

The protesters condemned the State and Union governments for “ignoring their genuine demands” pertaining to regularisation of services. They demanded that the government stop appointing anganwadi workers and assistants on the basis of monthly honorarium and regularise their services as group C and D employees with a minimum salary of Rs. 10,000. They added that till the government took a final decision on regularising their services, the honorarium amount should be enhanced.

The federation members said that anganwadi workers and assistants were on a par with other government employees but they had to depend on an honorarium for the entire time period that they worked. Moreover, the government made them do other work also. In future, they should not be engaged for any work other than what pertained to the Department of Women and Child Development, they said.

Their other demands included issuing BPL cards to the anganwadi staff, extending ESI and PF facilities, immediate release of honorarium to workers of mini anganwadis and appointment of assistants in mini anganwadis. The federation also opposed passing on the responsibility of supervising the anganwadis to private firms or non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The federation said that many anganwadi centres in the district lacked basic infrastructure. Though the government had made arrangements to provide nutritious food to children, cooking was difficult as many anganwadis did not have stoves.

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