According to a report of DNA, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has, upon inquiry, found out over 25 lakh fake beneficiaries of Anganwadi Schemes under the Integrated Child Development Services in various states.
As told by a Ministry Official, Maharashtra accounted for around 7-8 lakh ghost beneficiaries, Uttar Pradesh had around 14 lakh fake beneficiaries registered across 1.88 Anganwadis and Assam was found to be having around 3 lakh fake beneficiaries.
In May this year, the Assam government had cracked down on fake beneficiaries under the Anganwadi schemes in the state. The government had conducted a survey along with physical verification of the children present in the Anganwadis. Following the action of the Assam government, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi started state-level inquiries to identify the ghost beneficiaries under Anganwadi schemes. The Minister ordered the state governments to verify the actual number of children that needed to be fed. So far only the States of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra have submitted their inquiry reports while other states are still in the process of conducting inquiries.
The state’s expenditure on the daily meal of each beneficiary is around Rs. 8 as informed by a Ministry official. “This means that UP alone accounts for Rs 1.1 crore daily, while Assam and Maharashtra cost the state exchequer Rs 80 lakh,” officials said. Around 1 crore beneficiaries exist only on the paper across the country.
There are around 14 lakh Anganwadis providing 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 under the supplementary nutrition scheme of Integrated Child Development Services.
Also in its annual review of the Anganwadi services provided last year, it was found that some posts were vacant while others were over-staffed. Over 10,000 posts were found to be vacant in over 36 States and 34,000 sanctioned Anganwadi Centres were yet to be operational. In the State of Nagaland, 805 people were employed for 252 posts sanctioned by the Centre. Similarly, in the State of Uttar Pradesh, 784 people were working on 450 sanctioned posts.