Anganwadi workers stage protest against new HR Policy

‘This is injustice with us, don’t snatch our livelihood’
Anganwadi workers stage protest against new HR Policy
Photo: Aman Farooq/GK

Srinagar, Dec 20: Scores of Anganwadi workers and helpers working under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme held a major protest rally against the new HR policy.

These Anganwadi workers and helpers from various districts of Kashmir assembled at Press Enclave here on Tuesday and demanded rollback of the policy. They alleged that the policy will result in losing their jobs without any benefit.

“As per this new HR policy, all the workers who have reached 60 years of age will be retired. Earlier, we were able to continue without any age bar. The irony is that we are being shown the door, but authorities are not ready to give us retirement benefits. This is injustice with us, don’t snatch our livelihood,” said Shakeela, a protestor.

The protesting workers said that as per the new policy, if a worker is married outside the ward or district, she will be treated as disengaged.

“These anti-worker policies are being pushed when we are facing issues regarding low salary. This policy will make our lives miserable. We have worked for decades for the government and people, but no regard is shown for our work. We worked hard during Covid and important vaccination drives. Still nothing is being done for our benefit,” said another worker.

While talking to the media, the workers said that the HR policy is framed for the future engagement of workers and helpers. “And those who are appointed decades back should be treated as per the old ICDS manual, where workers can work beyond 60 years.” 

 “J&K UT is the only place with the lowest honorarium and state share of wages compared to other UTs. Instead of increasing our wages, these anti-worker policies are bought to make us suffer. We have pending wage issues as well, and authorities are not talking about that. We have been working on peanuts for decades and fighting for a hike in monthly wages, but we are only made to work, and our due wages are not paid on time,” said Fehmeeda, an anganwadi helper.

The aggrieved said that they are being paid an honorarium of around Rs 5000 per month for Anganwadi workers and Rs 2000 for helpers, which is the lowest compared to other states and UTs of India.

The workers tried to march outside the Press Enclave but a huge deployment of police prevented them from moving out. The workers said they would continue to protest until their issues are resolved.

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