25L ghost an­gan­wadi ben­e­fi­cia­ries found

WCD Min­istry of­fi­cials say there could be over 1 cr such ben­e­fi­cia­ries who ex­ist only on pa­per, across the coun­try

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE - DNA Cor­re­spon­dent cor­re­spon­[email protected]­dia.net

New Delhi: The Women and Child De­vel­op­ment Min­istry has found out there are over 25 lakh ghost ben­e­fi­cia­ries of an­gan­wadi schemes un­der the In­te­grated Child De­vel­op­ment Ser­vices in sev­eral states. Ma­ha­rash­tra ac­counts for any­where be­tween 7 to 8 lakh of such fake ben­e­fi­cia­ries. Fake ben­e­fi­cia­ries of over 14 lakh were found to be avail­ing such ben­e­fits in Ut­tar Pradesh, while As­sam ac­counted for 3 lakh such ben­e­fi­cia­ries, min­istry of­fi­cials said.

WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi said that the min­istry had started state-level inquiries af­ter they found fake ben­e­fi­cia­ries in As­sam. Till now, Ut­tar Pradesh and Ma­ha­rash­tra have filed in­quiry re­ports, while other states are in the process of con­duct­ing such inquiries.

Min­istry of­fi­cials said that the state’s spend on the daily meal of each ben­e­fi­ciary is Rs 8. “This means that UP alone ac­counts for Rs 11 crore daily, while As­sam and Ma­ha­rash­tra com­bined costs the state ex­che­quer Rs 80 lakh,” state min­istry of­fi­cials said.

The of­fi­cials fur­ther said that over 1 crore such ben­e­fi­cia­ries are only on pa­per across the coun­try.

Un­der the sup­ple­men­tary nu­tri­tion scheme of In­te­grated Child De­vel­op­ment Ser­vices, there are 14 lakh an­gan­wadis, which pro­vide un­cooked ra­tion to 4.6 crore in­fants and 1.9 crore moth­ers and hot cooked meals to

3.6 crore chil­dren aged be­tween 3 to 6.

The min­istry stum­bled upon the fake names af­ter the state gov­ern­ment in As­sam had car­ried out its own sur­vey in June this year, re­veal­ing the num­ber of fake ben­e­fi­cia­ries. The sur­vey was con­ducted along with phys­i­cal ver­i­fi­ca­tion of the num­ber of chil­dren present in the an­gan­wadis. Af­ter it was re­vealed that the state had so many fake ben­e­fi­cia­ries, Maneka or­dered all state gov­ern­ments to ver­ify the ac­tual num­ber of chil­dren who

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