BHUBANESWAR: The BJP on Sunday targeted the State Government over its announcement of ‘special package’ for Anganwadi workers and termed it as another attempt by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to hoodwink people ahead of the General Elections.The hike in the honorarium of Anganwadi workers and helpers was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September last year. The enhanced compensation was made effective from October, 2018. Odisha Government has not taken any extra burden by implementing the decision, said State BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra.
Prior to the Centre’s announcement of enhanced incentives, Anganwadi workers were getting a monthly remuneration of `6,000 per, while mini-Anganwadi workers and helpers were paid `4,125 and `3,000 respectively. These workers were entitled to revised incentives of `7,500, `5,375 and `3,750 per month respectively from October, 2018.
Had the State Government made further hike in the monthly honorarium by `1,500, Anganwadi workers would have got `9,000 per month. The mini-Anganwadi workers and helpers would have benefited accordingly, Mohapatra said.
The Nikhila Odisha Anganwadi Karmi Sangh, an affiliate of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), said it would be misleading to say that the State Government had given any extra incentives. In fact, the State Government has hiked the payment of Anganwadi workers in phases since 2008.The Centre had increased the honorarium for Anganwadi workers from `3,000 per month to `4,500. For Anganwadi workers at mini-centres and helpers, it was hiked from `2,200 to `3,500 and `1,500 to `2,250, respectively.
“We welcome the decision of the State Government to extend the upper age for disengagement to 62 years and the social security package at the time of retirement of Anganwadi workers,” said Jayant Das of AITUC. He, however, said the demand of Anganwadi Karmi Sangh for a minimum salary of `18,000 per month and pension scheme for them has not been considered by the Government.