The story of total inefficiency and corruption of the Social Welfare Department in handling the affairs of Anganwadi Centers in Jammu region is shocking and miserable.Over 14,500 Anganwadi Centers in Jammu Division have gone dry as the State Social Welfare Department has failed to provide food and nutrition supplies to these Centers, forcing children to stay away from schools. Two years ago the Anganwadi Centre scam was unearthed in Samba and after that the system of overcoming the corrupt practice that had to be removed by a Committee has not made any progress. Food and nutritious items all have vanished from these schools. The irony is that the Central Government is adequately funding the scheme and there are regular budgetary allocations made every year. Out of current year’s one hundred crore rupee allocations the State Government and the Social Welfare Department have not been able to spent more than half of the amount and the other half remains unutilized and therefore, the funds lapse. District Level Purchase Committee has not been able to bring about relief in the situation because it kept sleeping for the most part of the year and at the fag end of the financial year it started rushing through purchases not caring whether the food stuff it purchased was of high standard or not. There is total chaos about these Centers and the height of brazenness is that nobody cares to ask the senior as well as junior functionaries why there is slackness and inefficiency in procuring food stuff at proper time and providing it to the students regularly. It appears that somewhere and at some place there is deliberate disruption of the smooth distribution of food stuff among the students who are generally from below poverty line and within the age group of 3 – 13? The scheme seems to be failing unless drastic steps are taken to set the rot at rest.
We have taken up this matter in our earlier issues also. The Government should take a bold step and ensure that the scheme initiated by the Centre is not scuttled.