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'Went on Strike for Salary Hike but to No Avail'

Updated: Oct 12, 2022

Q. Has service delivery started inside the Anganwadi Centre (AWC) since it reopened? What instructions have been given regarding maintaining COVID-19 appropriate behaviour?

Anganwadi Worker (AWW): Yes, the Anganwadi is working in the same way as it used to before the COVID-19 pandemic. We have not received any instructions regarding COVID-19 guidelines. We were already taking care of cleanliness at our Anganwadi.

Q. Is hot cooked food being served to children? What is the malnutrition status in your locality?

AWW: We have been serving hot food at the centre since last November. No children here are malnourished as per our survey.

Q. What are the challenges that you are currently facing at work?

AWW: Ever since the pandemic, we need to work harder to bring children to the centre. Children come to the centre only at meal time and then leave, even their parents sit outside and take them back home after meals.

Door-to-door vaccinations for pregnant women and children were being conducted earlier, but now all of them have started coming to the centre itself.

The relevant department has increased online reporting, which is hampering our basic work.

Q. According to you, during the COVID-19 pandemic, were there things which the government should have provided but did not? Conversely, were unnecessary things provided?

AWW: During the pandemic the department should have given us complete (PPE) kits and medicines on a daily basis for our protection, but we were only given masks and gloves. We received sanitisers only once. When the situation started to improve, they unnecessarily sent a lot of safety materials at once.

The department and the government also promised that we would be given extra money for working during the pandemic, which we have not yet received.

Q. Have you received any financial incentives in the past two years?

AWW: No, we did not receive any separate funds. On the contrary, our monthly salary is delayed. We also went on strike for a salary hike but to no avail.

Q. Anganwadis in the state are being adopted under a new scheme* run by the Madhya Pradesh government. Did you receive any benefits at your centre under the scheme?

AWW: No one has adopted my Anganwadi, but as far as I know there are some Anganwadis which have received tables, chairs, and toys for children.

This interview was conducted with an Anganwadi Worker in Madhya Pradesh in Hindi on 2 April 2022, and has been translated.

Also Read: The Extent of Government Support for Frontline Workers in Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan During the Pandemic

Credits: Shruti Jain/ The Wire

*Under the Adopt an Anganwadi Scheme, any person and/or organisation can ‘adopt’ an Anganwadi to provide support for infrastructure needs, individual children needs (like uniforms, toys, bags, etc.), and health and nutrition services.

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