The Assam Assembly on Thursday witnessed noisy scenes and brief adjournment with members of the Opposition alleging discrimination in allotment of Anganwadi Centres by the State government.
During a discussion of Cut Motion on budgetary provisions for Women and Child Development Department, CPI(M) MLA Manoranjan Talukdar alleged opposition members were being discriminated against during the allotment of Anganwadi Centres in the constituencies.
While Independent MLA Akhil Gogoi supported the allegation, it was strongly refuted by members of the treasury bench, leading to a noisy scene. Deputy Speaker Numal Momin, who was on the Chair, tried to pacify the members from both sides. His efforts went in vain and he adjourned the House for five minutes.
When the House reassembled, Talukdar said: "One of the ruling party members showed fingers and hurled slang at me. Deputy Speaker sir, you must take action against him”. This led to objections by the BJP legislators, but the opposition MLAs demanded action against the particular member.
Talukdar was referring to BJP MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi's aggressive behaviour during the verbal duel between legislators of the ruling party and the opposition. Replying to the Cut Motion, Women and Child Development Minister Ajanta Neog said 20,000 model Anganwadi Centres will be set up in the state.
"I allotted funds for 1,000 model Anganwadi Centres in my first budget and later got sanctions for an additional 3,000 such units. So, 4,000 model Anganwadi Centres are being developed. Our target area is tea garden localities”, she added.
Neog, who is also the state Finance Minister, said the state currently has around 61,000 standard Anganwadi Centres and there is a lot to be done for improving the infrastructure of those units.
On Gogoi’s suggestion to increase the monthly salary of Anganwadi Workers from Rs 6,500 and Anganwadi Helpers from Rs 3,250, she said Assam is the only state in India to offer terminal or retirement benefits to Anganwadi Workers.
Noting that child marriage is one of the reasons for high Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in Assam, she said Rs 200 crore has been allocated in the next fiscal's budget to fight this social menace.
"We will be issuing the guidelines soon in the coming days. We will do everything possible to make this mission a success so that there is no child marriage in Assam. We will also launch an awareness campaign targeting mainly tea garden and char areas," Neog said.