Imphal: Higher ups in the Keirao Bitra ICDS Project have allegedly deducted a huge amount from the arrears meant for the Anganwadi workers and helpers.
The Anganwadi scheme was started as a rural child care programme in 1975 as part of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) program to combat hunger and malnutrition among children and pregnant women.
PM Modi, in September 2018, announced an increase of Rs 1,500 for workers, Rs 1,250 for mini workers and Rs 1000 for helpers. The Prime Minister had promised the increase as a ‘Diwali gift’, which was to be implemented from October 1, 2018.
In a bizarre twist, despite the Government announcing an increase of Rs 1,500 for workers, Rs.1,250 for mini workers and Rs.1000 for helpers, discrepancies have erupted in payment of the arrears to the workers and helpers of some Anganwadi centres.
According to a source, recently, government credited Rs. 25,500 each for Anganwadi worker and Rs.17000 for helper as an accumulated amount of arrears for 17 months. However, the same amount was not credited in full to the bank accounts of some workers and helpers under ISCDS Project Keirao Bitra. On June 22 this year, an amount of Rs. 24,973 was credited to the Manipur Rural Bank (MRB) bank account of one Anganwadi worker through NEFT/RTGS after deducting Rs. 527. On the same day, Rs. 24,429 was credited to the MRB Bank account of another Anganwadi worker through NEFT/RTGS. Only Rs. 12,750 was credited to the MRB Bank account of one Anganwadi helper although she is entitled to get an accumulated arrears amount of Rs.17,000 for 17 months. An amount of Rs.527 has been fraudulently deducted from every Anganwadi worker while Rs.4250 from every helper in ICDS Keirao Bitra, said the source.
Due to such irregularities in payment of arrears for workers and helpers, people have started questioning the integrity of the higher ups in the Social Welfare Department. The helpless Anganwadi workers and helpers, whose arrears amount had been deducted, are unable to raise their voice against the misdeeds of their higher officials.
Stating that some vested officials have maligned the sanctity of the department, some supervisors and workers of Anganwadi centres drew attention of the Government to initiate proper action against the erring officials and fix responsibility for the misdeed.
On the other hand, an Anganwadi worker informed this reporter that some supervisors had earlier collected Rs 120 and Rs 80 from every worker and helper of the Anganwadi centres on the pretext of bribing the top bureaucrat officers in the Government for clearance of their arrears. Some errant supervisors involved in collecting the said amount are running hither and thither in search of self-protection after the top officials of the Social Department and one organisation started investigating into the matter.
With the fraudulent activities having come to light, some of the supervisors have even started refunding the amount collected from the Anganwadi centres. Several supervisors serving in both the valley and hills districts are stated to be involved in the said fraud.
The source further revealed that some officials in ICDS project lack integrity in performing their jobs. There is irregularity in distribution of rice to the Anganwadi centres under supplementary food nutrition scheme for the pregnant women, lactating mothers, kids and adolescent girls. There are incidents of deduction in quota of rice given to the centres. The rice bag with capacity of 50 kg weighs only 35 Kgs when it reaches the centres, added the source.