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Anganwadi Workers Strike in Andhra Pradesh


Anganwadi workers in Andhra Pradesh are on strike, seeking improved wages and benefits. The State government has responded by invoking the Essential Services and Maintenance Act (ESMA), 1971, imposing a six-month ban on their strikes due to the perceived impact on Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) at Anganwadi Centres.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Anganwadi Services: Overview and Role of Workers
  2. Major Roles and Responsibilities of AWWs
  3. Challenges Faced by Anganwadi Workers (AWWs)

Anganwadi Services: Overview and Role of Workers

ICDS Scheme Evolution:

  • Launched on October 2, 1975, the ICDS scheme has transformed into Anganwadi Services, now integrated into Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0.

Centrally Sponsored Scheme:

  • Implemented by States/UTs, it focuses on early childhood care and development for beneficiaries aged 0-6 years, pregnant women, and lactating mothers.
  • Administered through a vast network of Anganwadi workers (AWW) and Helpers (AWH).

Services Offered:

  • Extends services to eligible beneficiaries through Anganwadi Centers nationwide.
  • Health-related services, including Immunization, Health Check-ups, and Referral Services, are provided through the National Rural Health Mission & Public Health Infrastructure.

Tracking Anganwadi Services:

  • Utilizes the ICT platform Poshan tracker for real-time data capture, monitoring, and implementation of Anganwadi Services.
  • Offers a comprehensive view of Anganwadi Centre activities, service deliveries by Anganwadi Workers (AWWs), and beneficiary management.

Major Roles and Responsibilities of AWWs:

  • Identifying and enrolling eligible pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children under six for ICDS services.
  • Promoting community participation, raising awareness about ICDS programs, and advocating healthy behaviors.
  • Ensuring center cleanliness, maintaining records, and creating teaching materials.
  • Conducting age-appropriate activities to prepare children for formal schooling.
  • Regularly measuring children’s height and weight, identifying developmental delays, and facilitating interventions.
  • Offering guidance on childcare practices, child nutrition, and healthy habits.
  • Providing hot meals, take-home rations, and nutritional supplements to address malnutrition.
  • Monitoring children’s health, conducting basic checkups, and referring for further interventions.
  • Guiding Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) under the National Rural Health Mission.
  • Assisting in organizing immunization drives and educating communities on health, hygiene, and sanitation.

Challenges Faced by Anganwadi Workers (AWWs)

Financial Recognition:

  • AWWs are not officially recognized as government employees, receiving monthly honorariums significantly below minimum wages, ranging from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000.
  • Low compensation poses challenges in meeting basic needs, impacting their dedication to work.

Delayed Honorariums:

  • Common delays in receiving honorariums contribute to financial insecurity and hardships for AWWs.

Additional Unpaid Duties:

  • Assigned various tasks, AWWs often undertake additional responsibilities such as Covid-19 duties, Census duties, or implementing government schemes without extra financial benefits.
  • Extensive workloads lead to burnout, affecting the quality of services provided.

Training Gaps:

  • Initial training for AWWs falls short in adequately preparing them for the multifaceted challenges they encounter daily.

Lack of Resources:

  • Anganwadi centers often lack essential resources like proper infrastructure, teaching materials, and medicines, hindering effective functioning.

Societal Stigma and Recognition:

  • AWWs face societal stigma and lack recognition for their significant community contributions, impacting morale and motivation negatively.

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024