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Suffering Anganwadi workers, helpers

In Jammu and Kashmir where acute malnutrition, stunting, wasting and anaemia is prevalent among the children, the services of the Anganwadi workers and helpers reaching out to the remotest places are most crucial at the same time, they are paid far below the minimum wages. Despite this, they are also performing additional duties of various departments like health, Panchayati raj.

They along with the ASHA workers are playing a very crucial role in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in the country. But it is unfortunate and most inhuman that these grass root level women functionaries are not paid their meagre wages regularly.

From January 2021, the wages of Anganwadi workers and helpers are not paid in Jammu and Kashmir. At a time when the country is phasing the pandemic, lockdown and huge job and income losses, it has become a life-threatening issue for the families of nearly 50 thousand women.

It is to be noted that that most of these women are from socially backward sections and many are the lone breadwinners of their families. The wages for February and March 2019 of the Anganwadi workers and helpers in South Kashmir districts – Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian are yet to be paid.

In North and Central districts – Baramulla, Bandipora, Kupwara, Srinagar and Badagam, wages for three months – January, February and March 2019 are not yet paid. It is not for the first time that the Anganwadi workers and helpers are facing such a crisis. It is a continuous affair that the wages are not paid for months together and the wages for a period in between are withheld.

There is a need for the release of the Wages from January 2021 onwards and ensure regular monthly payment as well as the release of the pending wages of January- March 2019 in different districts. The Government should also provide risk allowance to Anganwadi workers and helpers and ASHA workers. Include them in the announced scheme on incentives for the frontline workers.

 

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