Aarti Dhar

To look into issues raised when workers met Manmohan

  • Report to be presented in three months
  • Demand for universalisation of ICDS scheme

    NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has ordered the setting up of a review committee to look into the demands of the anganwadi workers and helpers hired under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme.

    To be constituted by the Union Women and Child Development Ministry, the committee is expected to give its report within three months.

    The committee will examine the current levels of honorarium and related issues raised by the anganwadi workers and helpers during their meeting with the Prime Minister on August 3.

    The committee's decisions will affect 19 lakh anganwadi workers and helpers across the country. They have been demanding universalisation of the ICDS scheme and opening more anganwadi centres to cover the 16 crore children below the age of six in the country, regularisation of the services of anganwadi workers and helpers as Grade III an Grade IV employees, immediate enhancement of their monthly remuneration of Rs. 3,000 for workers and Rs. 2,000 for helpers, linkage of their remuneration with the Consumer Price Index, extension of social security benefits such as Provident Fund, ESI and pension, besides formation of a tripartite committee at the national level on the issues of anganwadi employees.

    The Anganwadi workers and helpers are honorary in capacity. The monthly honorarium they receive was last reviewed in 2003 and raised from Rs. 500 and Rs. 300 to Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 500 for workers and helpers respectively.

    The All-India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers has been trying to draw the Government's attention to their demands.

    Dr. Singh told the delegation that the ICDS scheme was an important component of the Government's programme to address the needs of the child, and that the anganwadi staff were crucial pillars of it.

    There are 7.46 lakh anganwadi centres functioning across the country. The Centre recently sanctioned 1.88 lakh centres and 5 lakh workers and helpers.