Jharkhand Mid-day Meal Workers Get a Raise after a Long Battle

The Jharkhand Rajya Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sangh has been working for the rights of mid-day meal workers and is among the oldest workers’ unions. It has acquired prominence and much respect among the rasoiyas (mid-day meal workers) through its many successful struggles. The union has been active since the days when mid-day meal workers were paid a meagre amount of 25 paise per child, which usually comes to around Rs. 250-300 a month or Rs. 1,500-2,000 annually! Even this amount was paid irregularly to the workers. The Union fought a long battle which culminated into a 22-day long sit-in protest in front of the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi, after which the state government agreed to open personal bank accounts for all mid-day meal workers and a daily payment at Rs. 40 per day as ‘honorarium’ for 10 months in a year.

After many agitations, in 2015-16, the honorarium saw an increase of Rs. 500 per month. However, since the schools remained closed during the pandemic, the payments to mid-day meal workers were stopped. The Rasoiya Sangh raised this issue and organised a big mobilisation in front of the Jharkhand Assembly on March 3rd, 2021. CPIML MLA Vinod Singh raised this question inside the Assembly and simultaneously also addressed the rasoiyas gathered at the rally. This struggle resulted in another raise of Rs. 500 per month, thus increasing the total monthly amount to Rs. 2,000.

Under the continuing pressure of the movement, State Education Minister Jagarnath Mahato agreed to many demands of Jharkhand Rajya Vidyalaya Rasoiya Sangh in a meeting held on December 14th, 2022. But due to the unfortunate demise of the minister, that agreement could not be implemented for many months. On August 3rd, 2023, State Education Secretary K. Ravi Kumar and mid-day meal scheme director Kiran Kumari Pasi convened a meeting with Jharkhand Rajya Vidhyalaya Rasoiya Sangh and other unions where an agreement was again reached on the following:

(1) The honorarium will be increased to Rs. 3,000 per month, with an increase of Rs. 1,000.
(2) The honorarium will be paid for 12 months in a year instead of 10 months.
(3) The payments will be made on a monthly basis.
(4) Two sets of uniforms (saree, blouse and petticoat) will be provided to all rasoiyas each year.

Jharkhand Mid-day Meal Workers Get a Raise after a Long Battle