Women workers who are part of the mid-day meal scheme are demanding an increase in pay from Rs 1,100-1000 to Rs 3,000, and a reversal of privatisation of the mid-day meal scheme that the government has initiated.
Thousands of women are pouring into the city to join the strike that began on Monday. Accompanied by their children, they are camping out in the open at the Freedom Park, braving the December cold.
“These people get only Rs38 per day. The government has been exploiting them by paying a meagre honorarium for working from morning to evening,’’ said Malini Mestha, general secretary, Karnataka Rajya Akshara Dasoha Naukarara Sangha.
Cooks and head-cooks under the programme are being paid Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,100 per month. They get an additional Rs 100 every month for providing milk to schoolchildren thrice a week under the Ksheera Bhagya scheme that was launched a few months ago.
Those wages are violate the Karnataka minimum wages act, and even far lesser than the daily wages paid under the MGNREGS (The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) programme, which is Rs 174 a day and far below the wages of anganwadi workers and helpers.
Malini said that around 40,000 women have been rendered unemployed due to privatisation of the mid-day meal programme. “We demand an end to privatisation of the mid-day meal programme. We also demand that the government increase the honorarium from Rs38 to Rs170 per day,” Malini said.
Reproduced from DNA