Maharashtra Government Feels the Heat of 54 Days Long Strike of Anganwadi Workers



More than 2 lakh Anganwadi workers of Maharashtra observed a strike for 54 days in the month of February 2024. The strike was a culmination of consistent movement of Anganwadi workers for dignified honorarium and other working class rights like guarantee of pension and gratuity.

The movement of the Anganwadi workers was reinvigorated after the honorarium of ASHA workers in Maharashtra were increased to Rs 15,000 per month. The Anganwadi workers have a legitimate claim to increased honorarium until they are guaranteed monthly wages and recognition as government workers. Presently, the Anganwadi workers get Rs 10,500 per month in Maharashtra and the helpers are paid Rs 5,500 per month. The Anganwadi workers of Maharashtra have been demanding a honorarium not less than Rs 18,000 per month.

The massive strike of the Anganwadi workers manifested the power of independent assertion of women workers. The labour that women give in running the most crucial government schemes are made invisible by the government that treats them merely as volunteers and not as workers, thus depriving them of their rights. It is through the strike and vibrant participation of workers in the strike that the government was sent a very clear message that invisibilization of such a major part of the workforce will not be tolerated. The workers ran such a protracted movement and successfully managed all necessary arrangements with collective funds created by workers themselves. The strike was an exemplary show of unity of the workers and independent assertion of the women workforce. 

While the Maharashtra government was steadfast in deploying all tactics including spreading fake news and creating a threatening atmosphere to break the strike, the workers showed their resilience against all such odds and continued the strike for 54 days.

Despite such a long battle, the Maharashtra government refused to heed to the demand of increasing the honorarium of Anganwadi workers to Rs 18,000 per month. Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis even went to the extent of saying that the government cannot ensure two increments in a year, otherwise the workers will go into strike every now and then to demand increment. Firstly, Mr Fadnavis should know that the Anganwadi workers who run the crucial ICDS scheme of the government deserve to be treated as government employees and paid accordingly. The Anganwadi workers have only been demanding remuneration for their hard labour that goes into ensuring nutrition, health and per-primary training for the children of the country. The way the Deputy CM of Maharashtra belittled the demand of the Anganwadi workers of the state is symptomatic of a regime that alters labour laws to facilitate further exploitation of Indian workers.


The Anganwadi workers of Maharashtra have decided to actively engage in campaigning against the NDA government presently ruling the country that has consistently refused to respect and recognise the rights of Anganwadi workers.