On February 23, during a budget speech, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced a 20 per cent increase in mandays of honorarium workers employed in various departments of Rajasthan government.
This move will benefit the accredited social health activists (ASHA) workers as well as Anganwadi workers, in addition to assistants, mid-day meal cooks-cum -helpers, village employment assistants, gram panchayat assistants, teaching staff, para teaching staff, and workers of the Rajasthan Ex-servicemen Corporation or REXCO workers in the state.
As per Gehlot, there is no increment of salaries of such employees every year. He announced that they could expect an increase in promotions and re-organisation in some services and cadres to give fair opportunities to employees.
In January, the Punjab government had also increased the pay of 22,000 ASHA and Angadwadi workers, including 4,200 mid-day meal workers. As per the Punjab government, the fixed monthly allowance for ASHA workers will henceforth be Rs 2,500, while mid-day meal workers will earn Rs 800 more than they used to. This will mean a burden of Rs 124.25 crore on the state’s finances.
Elsewhere in Delhi and Odisha, Angadwadi workers are protesting against the government for hike in wages and a permanent status as government employees with all benefits. Last year, in Odisha, the workers congregated under the banner of the All Odisha Anganwadi Ladies Workers’ Association and took their issues directly to the government in a march to the State Legislative Assembly from the Master Canteen Square.