ICDS Supervisors Not Paid Salary For Seven Months

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Many are facing severe distress, demand immediate payment of salary 

Mareaya Fayaz

The Supervisors in the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Department are facing severe problems because their salaries have not been paid for seven months now. The situation is highly distressing. Some have family members who need treatment, but they cannot afford it. Some cannot organize the marriage of their children due to paucity of funds or are unable to pay for the education of their children due to lack of payment of salary.

“Director mam hum guzarish kar rahe hai ki agar kisiko kidney ki zarurat paday gi hum supervisors bechneko tayar hai”. This is message from a WhatsApp group of JK ICDS SEWWA, posted by a supervisor in the ICDS Department. Most of them are highly qualified and have been appointed through proper channel in the ICDS department. Over 90 per cent of these employees are women. Many of them are widows or single mothers who have families to take care of.

ICDS Department works under the Social Welfare Department. The department is aimed at addressing the health, nutrition and the development needs of young children, pregnant and nursing mothers. The supervisors of the department have been demanding their salary for months and are now on an indefinite pen down strikes till the issue is resolved.

Salary Payment A Constant Struggle

Speaking to KASHMIR CENTRAL, Abida War, who is representing the fraternity as president of JKICDS Supervisors Union said that all these Supervisors are facing severe distress because their salary has not been paid. “Payment of salary is our fundamental right. When we work, we ought to be paid. For the last three decades, the Supervisors are facing this issue. Sometimes, Supervisors were paid salary after three months, and sometimes after five months. This time the issue has not been resolved for seven months. We were not paid even on Eid, so anyone can image what a testing time it has been for us,” said Abida, who is also the Chairperson of JKSEWWA.

Earlier, there were some reports that there is an all-India delay in the salary of the ICDS Supervisors. But Abida War specified that this is not the case. She said that she spoke to her colleagues working outside J&K UT. “I got to know that their salaries have been credited on time and all employees have been paid in a routine manner,” she said.

“Now that we are protesting, the department is pressurising my colleagues to break the strike,” said Abida. Many of them are feeling desperate now. A message posted on a WhatsApp group of the employees reads, “Now we will be forced to sell our body parts since we have already sold our jewelleryand we have nothing left.” It is so disheartening to see young educated and employed women saying this, because they have not been paid their salary for the last many months.

‘Discrimination Against Women’

Abida said that this is also an issue of discrimination with the women of J&K, since 99% of the supervisory staff comprises women. Abida War regretted that the women have not been given any promotion. There is stagnation in promotions too, but right now the main issue is the payment of salaries. “We are suffering because our salary has not been paid. Many Supervisors are women whose children are dependent on them. Today my son asked me when are you going to get paid Mom.” This is also from a WhatsApp group of JKSEWWA.

Abida said that the topmost demand of the ICDS Supervisors is the streamlining of salary system, so that they are paid on time every month. “This is grave injustice that even though we work so hard, we are not paid on time. During Covid, we were working even during the lockdowns,” said Abida.

Supervisors say that in the Department of ICDS, theemployees get 90% salary from the center and only 10 % from the Union Territory. “The department is saying that the salaries have been delayed due to the delay is submitting utility certificates. This raises more questions. Why is the department so late in submitting the necessary documents? The ICDS employees are finding it difficult to make ends meet. They don’t realise how we are managing things in our homes,” said Abida.

“These women have to take care of regular family expenses like food, electricity bills, the fees of their kids etc. It is highly unfortunate that ICDS Supervisors should be made to suffer like this,” she stated.

“The Worthy Director may be trying hard to resolve the issue. But it seems that a lot of realities are hidden from her. Due to this miscommunication, so many families are suffering,” said Abida. She demanded that the department must have a well-defined promotion policy in place so that Supervisors can look forward to career progression. “The Supervisors can be promoted to the level of ACDPOs. This will also boost the morale of the employees,” highlighted

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