Sops to anganwadi workers: BJP alleges Odisha government of taking Centre’s credit

Bhubaneswar: There seems to be a war of words between the BJP and BJD over the sops announced by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for anganwadi workers. Accusing the ruling-BJD of dolling out sops to anganwadi workers on Central funds, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today stated that Prime Narendra Modi had announced the hike in September last year and the state government is now claiming it to be its own.

“PM Modi had increased remuneration of Anganwadi workers by Rs 1,500 in October. But Odisha government was sleeping on it. Without increasing a single rupee, Odisha government announced to provide retirement benefits of Rs 20,000. When other States have hiked the basic salary to Rs 13,000, Odisha government is only trying to take credit,” said Pradhan.

BJP leader Aparajita Sarangi said “The Odisha government implemented the hike which was declared by the Union cabinet on September 9. States like Andhra Pradesh are providing remuneration of Rs 10,000 per month to Anganwadi workers and Rs 6,000 per month to helpers.”

Responding to BJP allegations, Odisha Finance minister Shashi Bhusan Behera said, “We have already cleared that Central assistance is Rs 2,700 while Odisha government’s contribution is Rs 4,800 to the revised monthly salary. The only objective of the opposition parties is to create confusion.”

On the other hand, the Ganjam unit of All Odisha Anganwadi Ladies Workers’ Association also alleged discrepancies in the honorarium paid to them and accused the State Government of hoodwinking the workers by declaring a hike in their incentives.

The Anganwadi workers alleged the hike in their monthly incentives from Rs 6,000 Rs 7,500 by the Odisha government is a sham and said that the Central Government had increased their honorarium to Rs 4,500 from Rs 3,000 in September last year while the State Government continued to pay Rs 6,000 which was less than what was announced by the Centre.

On January 12, the Odisha government had announced honorarium hike for Anganwadi Workers (Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,500), Mini-Anganwadi Workers (Rs 4,125 to Rs 5,375) & Anganwadi Helpers (Rs 3,000 to Rs 3,750) along with disengagement incentives.