The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Maharashtra state Legislature has made an observation suggesting that nearly 75,000 bogus or ineligible children were registered in child care institutions, leading to siphoning of state government’s funds, reports DNA.
According to the report, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) also pointed out the existing loopholes in the functioning of these institutions. The PAC found out that these child care institutions did not segregate children in need of care and protection from juveniles lodged there on criminal charges. The PAC feels that these juvenile offenders can influence other inmates and render them vulnerable to crimes like theft, drug use and sex abuse.
In its report on the General and Social Sector for the year ended March 2015, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had also pointed to operational inefficiencies in these centres, which are meant to provide institutional care to children in need.
“Between 2010 and 2015, a total of 95,000 children were taking benefit of these schemes in 1,153 child care institutions. During an inspection, it was found that a large number of children, who had homes of their own, had been admitted to these child care institutions. When the department examined every case during the inspection, it was found that only 17,000 of these children were found to be eligible for admissions. The other children were handed over to their parents. The department told the committee that at present, these child care institutions have around 21,000 children. This means, more than 75,000 bogus or ineligible children were registered here and crores of public money were siphoned off from the government on unnecessary expenses,” the report said.
The report accused the child welfare committees and those responsible for overseeing their functioning at the district and state level of neglecting their duty of providing institutional care and social rehabilitation to children in need.
“If a detailed examination of each case was conducted while admitting every child to in these homes and only those eligible were admitted, it would have helped restrict the number of inmates,” the PAC said, adding that budgeted funds could have been used more effectively.
The PAC opined that crores of government money have been spent unnecessarily and dismissed the excuses that it was inadvertent or due to negligence. This is a serious issue and the possibility of connivance to siphon off funds cannot be denied, and hence, it needs detailed and urgent investigation, said the Public Accounts Committee.