SHRIMATI GEETA MUKHERJEE (PANSKURA): Sir, according to the Government Report, there are more than 10 lakh Anganvadi and Balvadi workers working in the country. According to the non-official reports, this number is over 14 lakh because the Government do not recognise the NGOs engaged in this work. This is the reason for this discrepancy.
SHRIMATI GEETA MUKHERJEE : They get a meager allowance, that is, Rs.510 per month, if the working years are five. They get the financial assistance of only Rs.260 per month. Some State Governments, like West Bengal, Kerala, Tripura, Maharashtra and Goa, give some extra amount but for that the workers have to work extra.
Anganvadis and Balvadis are supposed to work for four hours a day but in reality they work at least eight hours a day and sometimes even up to 12 hours a day. Their work is important and beneficial to the women and children of our country, particularly in rural areas. It is also important from the national point of view. How can the Government give such a pittance for such a heavy and important work? Is it not inhumane? Is it because Anganvadis and Balvadis are run by women?
I, therefore, demand that the allowances be increased up to the minimum wages given to the regular workers. It is reported that the Central Government is stopping the Anganvadi project in the States of West Bengal and Punjab. In West Bengal, the stopping has already been effected in some districts. I demand that this move to stop the Anganvadi project in these two States be withdrawn forthwith.