Massive Protest at Parliament Street

More than 2000 scheme workers, backbone of India's health and social welfare schemes, including mid-day meal and community health services workers gathered at Delhi's Jantar Mantar on 21 November in protest against Modi government's attempts to trample their rights. They are demanding their labour rights, proper wages, rights and dignity.

Mid-Day Meal workers’ national convenor Saroj Chaube said that India’s Scheme workers, viz. ASHA, Mid-day Meal, Anganwadi, etc. continue to suffer from remarkably low salary, precarity of employment, and lack of dignity.

The All-India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) has launched a nationwide campaign to ensure justice and dignity for India’s Scheme Workers, and to demand their constitutional rights. As part of the campaign, AICCTU has organized a protest demonstration in Delhi on 21 November 2022. Scheme workers from all states, and their allies, have joined the demonstration.

The Mahadharna and protest was led by national convenor of All India Scheme Workers’ Federation Shashi Yadav, Mid-Day Meal workers’ national convenor Saroj Chaube, ASHA leaders from Bihar Vidyavati, Sunita, Shavya Pandey, Kavita, from Uttar Pradesh ASHA union state president Lakshmi Devi, ASHA union’s secretary Sadhana Pandey, Kanwalpreet Kaur, from Uttarakhand ASHA leader Rita Kashyap, Puja, Rinki Joshi, from Maharashtra Aanganwadi workers leader Madina Sheikh, Suvarna Talekar, Jharkhand Mid-day meal workers’ leaders Anita Devi and Ravindra Kumar, ASHA leader from Andhra Pradesh Jahira Begum and Atar Jaan Begum, Mid-day meal workers’ leader from Punjab Anguri Devi, Delhi ASHA leader Rama, Bihar Mid-day meal leader Sunita and Vibha Bharati, Scheme workers’ leader in Chhattisgarh Uma Netam and many others. Scheme workers from Assam and Karbi-Anglong also took part in the protest.

Shashi Yadav, National Convener of All India Scheme Workers Federation said, “Fixed working hours for scheme workers is a must. A gender cell should also be formed to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace.”

Rajiv Dimri, General Secretary of AICCTU said, “It is highly unjust that the scheme workers do not have the status of government employees. This should be immediately remedied.”

Shweta Raj, General Secretary, Dilli ASHA Kamgar Union (AICCTU), drew attention to the plight of the ASHA workers. She said, “On the one hand, the ASHAs have recently been honoured with the “Global Health Leaders’ Award” by the World Health Organization (WHO). On the other hand, they neither get a respectable salary, nor do they have fixed working hours, and are regularly mistreated in dispensaries and hospitals. Many ASHAs lost their lives while performing their duties during the pandemic but their families have not received any compensation so far.”

The following demands have been outlined at the demonstration:

  • Give scheme workers (ASHA, mid-day meal, Anganwadi, etc.) the status of government employees!
  • Fix a monthly salary of Rs 28,000 for scheme workers at the national level! Guarantee proper social security including pension!
  • Fix working hours for scheme workers! Form a gender cell to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace!
  • Stop privatization / NGO-ization of these public utility government schemes (NHM, mid-day meal, ICDS, etc.)
  • Provide proper compensation to the families of the scheme workers killed during the Corona period!
Scheme Workers’ Federation Holds Massive Protest