Even a month after the National Food Security Act, 2013 was enforced, most women blue collar workers in Bangalore are unaware of the benefits they are entitled to under it.
Several women working in garment factories, anganwadis and construction sites gathered at a workshop conducted by the National Association for People’s Movement — Karnataka, to learn about the mid-day meal scheme, Anna Bhagya scheme, Antyodaya Anna Yojana scheme, Bala Sanjeevani and other government schemes implemented to ensure inclusive food security to the underprivileged and marginalised populations.
Clifton D Rosario, advisor to commissioners of the Supreme Court on the Right to Food case, said many sections are still unable to benefit from the state-sponsored Anna Bhagya scheme, and the Antyodaya Anna Yojana scheme launched to protect eligible households by providing 35 kg of rice per family per month, as the government had no proper statistics of the number of beneficiaries.
“The government should conduct a survey and classify poor households based on their economic condition and then issue ration cards. Families must also ensure that the ration card is in the name of the member who is financially supporting the family,” he insisted. “This way they can benefit well from these schemes,” he added.
Saroja Hunnade, from the Garment Labourers Union (GLU), highlighted the pathetic situation in both the Anganwadi Centres (AWC) at Nayandahalli on Mysore Road.
She said while children were not fed properly, the AWC located in interior Nayandahalli was located next to an uncovered drain, and kids were subjected to unhygienic conditions for the whole day.
“There is no one to answer when we demand an explanation for the pathetic condition of these centres where children are supposed to be fed and taught,” she said.
In the other AWC, which is a building rented from a landlord, she said the owner’s dog was tied inside the AWC classroom space, and the place became filthy with animal refuse, which the AWC helper was forced to clean. Varalakshmi, another participant said her five-year-old child was refused admission in the AWC near her house.
“There are many like me, who are not fully aware that a child is entitled to benefit from an AWC till they complete the age of six years,” said Varalakshmi, who was forced to get her daughter Divyashree into a private school after spending a lot of money.
Another participant from Byrasandra said that when they took the children, AWC workers turned them away stating that,” mid-day meals schemes work only in villages and not in Bangalore city.” Workers from Hennur, Doddagubbi, Bande Bommasandra, Yerappanahalli and other areas of Bangalore Rural participated in the workshop.