Virodh: Anganwadis in Protest

As part of the Fifth Five Year Plan in 1975, the Ministry of Social Welfare developed the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), which is one of the world’s most comprehensive programs for early childhood care and development. Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) and Anganwadi Helpers (AWHs) are appointed as honorary workers under the ambit of this scheme.

While this scheme attempts to eradicate the rampant malnutrition and uplift the lives of women and children in India, it fails to honour the people who make it possible. The constant undermining of their work, long working hours
and negligible pay are some ofthe reasons behind the recent flare-up between AWWs and AWHs. The virodh (rebellion), inspired by the kisan andolan (farmer’s protest), started in Haryana on 8 December 2021.

In a recent field study undertaken by the Centre for New Economics Studies, we interacted with Anganwadi Workers from Sonipat, Haryana, and delved into the various pressing issues that led to the protests.