Aanganwadi workers across Maharashtra have returned 80,000 faulty smartphones in the last 13 days. In 2018, the Central government had provided Aanganwadi workers with smartphones to record data of mothers and children. More than 1,25,000 workers protested in the state because of inadequate facilities, a demand that they say that they have repeatedly raised. The 2G RAM smartphones provided by the government were not equipped for the Poshan Tracker App that was mandatory for the data to be uploaded on the website.
Would Return All 1,50,000 Smartphones
The Hindustan Times quoted Kamal Parulekar, General Secretary of Anganwadi Sevika Union saying, "We have been complaining to the central government about the technical issues we have been facing, but they don't listen to us. So far, we have returned 80,000 such faulty mobiles to the authorities." She further added that the Anganwadi workers would return all the 1,50,000 mobile phones that were provided to them in the next two weeks. Currently, the data of malnourished children, lactating mothers and pregnant mothers is in offline mode.
The General Secretary also mentioned that they have not stopped their work and still record the data on individual registers as they did in the past. However, she mentioned that the workers would not upload the data on the portal until their demand for an upgraded phone is met. Parulekar said, "this is essential to make them listen to our demands." Till last month, some workers were reporting the data they collected from their smartphones.
Cost of Repair Ranges From ₹500 to ₹2000
From the Maharashtra Rajya Asha Asha Gatpravatak Karamchari Kruti Samiti, MA Patil reportedly said that the phones were not of good quality. He further added that often the cameras malfunction and the hardware gets damaged, and the cost of repairing one phone ranges between ₹500 to ₹2,000, and the Anganwadi workers cannot afford that. Moreover, there have been reports mentioning that the phones infringe upon the privacy of individuals since it uninstalls all social media apps from the phones without permission.