Mid-day Meal Workers Protest at Bihar Legislative Assembly

With a 13-point demand, thousands of mid-day meal workers working in schools under the banner of Bihar State School Mid-day Meal Workers Union (affiliated to AICCTU) held a protest during the on-going session of the Bihar Legislative Assembly. The workers, who put forth their demands for their socioeconomic and legal rights, demanded that the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar increase their honorarium to Rs. 10,000 per month, to provide permanent jobs, among other demands. The workers at the protest said that the Modi Government had failed to increase their honorarium in the past 10 years, and hence must be defeated in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.


The mid-day meal workers play a significant role in ensuring that children are given nutritious food and do not drop out of school. Their services are essential in a country like ours, which is marred with caste and class oppression, where right to food and proper nutrition and right to quality education are distant dreams.


The mid-day meal workers also demanded the Nitish Kumar-led government to eliminate the involvement of NGOs in the process of preparation of midday meal and its delivery. The workers urged the government to take responsibility of these workers. They demanded that the Bihar Government implement its promise to increase the honorarium as was assured in their previous protests, and that they must be paid for 12 months, instead of 10 months as is being paid currently. They sought that the retirement age be increased to 65 years, to provide retirement benefits of Rs. 10 lakh rupees for each worker.


CPI(ML) MLA Sudama Prasad, who addressed the protest gathering, read out the notice that would be given in the Assembly, which sought that the honorarium of Rs. 1,650 be increased to Rs. 10,000 per month. He said that the present honorarium is disrespectful to the workers. Meanwhile, due to the change in government, the progress that was made to increase the honorarium of the workers had come to a standstill, said the other MLAs. They said that Bihar is now being run by a double-engine government that does not want to talk about the demands of the extremely poor mid-day meal workers who belong to Dalit and bahujan communities and called upon the workers to defeat the Modi-Nitish government in the upcoming elections if they do not increase the honorarium. In pursuance of the "Modi Guarantee", the speakers demanded a written assurance by the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister to increase the honorariums of mid-day meal workers and other scheme workers to Rs. 26,000 per month. In the Assembly, the demand to release CPI(ML) MLA Manoj Manzil was also raised.


Meanwhile, Comrade Saroj Chaube warned the Nitish-BJP government to immediately fulfil the 13-point demand failing which the 2.3 lakh mid-day meal workers would launch a relentless campaign to ensure their defeat.

After staging a demonstration near Gate Public Library, thousands of mid-day meal workers from across various districts reached Gardanibagh protest site, while raising slogans against the Modi-Nitish government. The General Secretary of the union Saroj Chaube, President Vibha Bharati, ASHA leader Shashi Yadav of All India Scheme Workers' Federation, AICCTU State Secretary Ranvijay Kumar, Mahasangh (Gope) leader Ram Bali Prasad, AICCTU Vice-President SK Sharma, AIPWA leader Anita Sinha and others led the demonstration. CPI(ML) MLAs Sudama Prasad, Mahanand Singh, Ram Bali Singh Yadav, Amarjeet Khushwaha, Gopal Ravidas and others addressed the protest gathering.