Maharashtra Anganwadi workers are furious as the promises given by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra are being violated. These workers are mainly responsible for running more than 97,000 Anganwadi’s in Maharashtra through which more than 73 lakh children are provided with food supplied by the Maharashtra government. Besides that, a typical Anganwadi centre provides basic health care in Indian villages like contraceptive counseling and supply, nutrition education and supplementation, as well as pre-school activities. The centres are also used as depots for oral rehydration salts, basic medicines and contraceptives. They are thus an important part of the meagre public health care system.
As reported in October 2017 issue of the Mazdoor Ekta Lahar, more than 2 lakh Anganwadi workers all over the country had gone on strike in September 2017. They were demanding to be treated as human beings and at par with government employees. After their strike in September 2017, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra promised that they would be given a hike of 5% in their wages from April’18 in addition to Rs.1500/- hike which had already been declared from October 2017. Anganwadi workers, however, are yet to be given salary raise of Rs.1500/- even after 4 months. Anganwadi workers in many places have not even received their wages for January 2018 till 16th February 2018.
It has been reported that the budget provision for the promised hike from April 2018 has not been made. It is further reported that the Maharashtra government wants to reduce the number of Anganwadi centres by claiming that they are too small to manage! The Maharashtra government is apparently telling the fighting Anganwadi workers, “if you fight for wage hike, we will reduce your numbers!” MEL denounces this high handedness of the Maharashtra government and fully supports the Anganwadi workers and their organizations who have decided to resume their fight.