Problems of the CDPOs and DPOs

These officers are under the bureaucratic control of the District Magistrate, hence can take no decisions on their own. Even to decide how much rent can be paid for an Anganwadi Centre cannot be decided by them without permission and ratification of the D.M. There is undue intervention and pressure on them from the Ministry. Moreover, the exact nature of their work is not clear.

General problems of Anganwadi workers and helpers

Although there is no complaint of sexual harassment as such, and there are no complaint cells many women workers are used to allowing men to exploit them for the sake of getting favours and for increasing their clout. Other cases of violence do take place, for example in Sultanpur district of U.P., a primary school teacher stabbed a supervisor returning from election duty. He threatened to kill her even in the hospital. It was after a movement by the Uttar Pradesh Anganwadi Supervisors’ Association that she was saved and the teacher arrested. In another incident in Kanpur a CDPO forcibly stuffed ‘panjeeri’(roasted ata mixed with sugar) into the mouth of a Supervisor, saying ‘take, eat this’. Many such incidents of intimidation occur from time to time. Fear of humiliation, punishments and transfer make workers accept exploitation and corrupt activities, disrupting healthy work culture.
Women workers bear economic and other kinds of exploitation both at the workplace and at home, because often officials and family members have an eye on the honorarium of the workers. Trapped between family pressures and departmental pressures, the workers’ health suffers and they lack enthusiasm for fulfilling targets.

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