Govt. hikes anganwadi workers’ honorarium; union rejects it

Minister says demands met within a week; protesters call raise ‘too little’

February 25, 2022 02:10 am | Updated 04:40 am IST - New Delhi

Anganwadi workers protesting outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence in Delhi on Thursday.

Anganwadi workers protesting outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence in Delhi on Thursday. | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

  The Delhi government has decided to increase the honorarium of anganwadi workers and helpers to ₹12,720 and ₹6,810 respectively. The announcement, made by Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam on Thursday, comes 25 days after the workers sat on an indefinite strike. The Delhi State Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union (DSAWHU), however, has rejected the honorarium revision and said that it will continue the strike outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence. 

The union said in a statement that the hike is “too little” and the workers would not consider any decision by the government unless it discusses the issues with them.

Scores of women anganwadi workers and helpers, under the banner of DSAWHU, have been protesting across the city. They have been demanding that the honorarium of workers and helpers be increased to ₹25,000 and ₹20,000 respectively, and their services be regularised with retirement benefits. 

The anganwadi workers in Delhi last saw an honorarium revision in August 2017 after a 58-day-long strike. The present honorarium of workers and helpers are ₹9,678 and ₹4,839 respectively, according to the union. Apart from the honorarium, they also get some incentives for selected programmes and ₹200 as communication allowance per month. 

‘Highest honorarium’

Addressing media, Women and Child Development Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam said, “In 2017, the Delhi government had increased the salary of anganwadi workers from ₹5,000 to ₹9,678 and that of anganwadi helpers from ₹2,500 to ₹4,839, keeping the semi-skilled work and working hours in mind. It is being increased to ₹12,720 and ₹6,810, respectively. With this decision, Delhi becomes the only State in India to give the highest honorarium to anganwadi workers.” The Minister said a few days ago, he had a meeting with some anganwadi union members who presented a list of their demands. But the DSAWHU, which represents the protesting workers, had boycotted the meeting.  “We had informed them that we will come to a positive decision regarding their demands in the next seven days. Today, I am happy to announce that our government has delivered on its promise. In less than a week we have increased the honorarium of anganwadi workers and helpers in Delhi. I want to assure everyone that the (Arvind) Kejriwal government is sensitive towards the demands of the anganwadi workers in these difficult times. This decision has been given Cabinet’s approval and will be implemented from March 1, 2022 itself,” the Minister said. 

He also appealed to the anganwadi workers and helpers to report to their duties now so that children and pregnant women can get their prescribed ration.

Reacting to the hike in honorarium, Delhi BJP Spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said the Delhi government is “totally insensitive” towards anganwadi workers. “I suggest the government should accept the protesting anganwadi workers’ demands or at least give them minimum wages as applicable for skilled and semi-skilled labour,” he said. 

There are close to 10,700 anganwadi centres in the city and around 20,000 workers and helpers. As per the DSAWHU, 8,000-10,000 workers are protesting near Mr. Kejriwal’s residence every day since January 31. According to the local police, their number at the protest site is above 2,000. 

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