With their demand for a pay hike consistently falling on deaf ears, nearly 1,000 anganwadi teachers and assistants staged a demonstration at the collector’s office yesterday. The agitators are asking for an increase in remuneration, preferably on par with the pay offered by other states.
Anganwadi teachers in the state receive a remuneration of Rs 4,050, while the assistants are paid Rs 2,000 as monthly salary by the government. The protestors are insisting on a minimum monthly salary Rs 10,000.
With prices of essential commodities skyrocketing, how could the workers live on just Rs. 4,050 a month, asked Supriya Salunke who joined an anganwadi situated in Deccan in 2001. Salunke said her salary was Rs 900 then, and after serving 12 long years her salary has still not crossed the Rs 5,000 mark.
“Running the house on this tiny salary is next to impossible. We have been agitating for our demand since many years. Thegovernment should immediately accept our demand,” said Salunke.
Mangal Kunjir, who works as an anganwadi assistant, demanded that there should not be any difference between salaries of teachers and assistants and both should be provided equal wages.
“Besides overseeing the anganwadi, the PMC also asks us to perform other various non-academic activities. This includes providing assistance during pulse polio drives and other initiatives of the civic health department. Moreover, we have not been covered by any government health schemes like medical insurance,” said Kamal Patole, another teacher.
Nitin Pawar, chairman of Anganwadi Employee Union (Pune division) presented a comparative analysis of how other states are paying anganwadi workers. “Maharashtra ranks 15th among the states. The neighbouring state of Goa pays Rs 15,000 to anganwadi teacher and Rs 7,500 to assistants. Tamil Nadu has salary structure of Rs 8,500 for teachers and Rs 4,200 to assistants. Pondicherry, which is on the top spot, pays Rs 19,480 toteachers and Rs 13,330 to assistants. The state government should learn something from these states,” Pawar said. Ironically, even though the central government contributes towards a part of the anganwadi staff salaries, the remuneration is still negligible in the state. The centre chips in Rs 3,000 and Rs 1,500 for each anganwadi teacher and assistant respectively, and the state only pays Rs 1,050 and Rs 500.