JSSK scheme suffers due to delay in release of funds

Suhail Bhat
Srinagar, Dec 25: Casting a shadow over Government’s endeavor to tackle the problem of maternity mortality and infant mortality through Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) scheme, some of the officials associated with National Health Mission (NHM) are allegedly misusing their discretions by unnecessarily delaying the release of funds meant for the Scheme thereby putting the whole initiative to peril.
Employees working with the various private organization that have been roped in for the implementation of the scheme under private Public-Private Partnership(PPP) mode alleged that there is something fishy about the allocation of funds this time. “We usually used to get payments quarterly but for last eight months we have not received money. We do not know the exact reason. If they do not pay us we will discontinue the services. We work for private companies and they survive on the sale and if they don’t get money they will stop delivering the services,” they said.
Launched in 2011, the JSSK entitles pregnant women to free drugs, diagnostics, delivery, free transport home and other measures, all aimed at increasing the number of institutional deliveries. Sick newborns, too, are entitled to free treatment and drugs for the first month. The main highlight of the scheme was that services of the private organization were taken for effective implementation of the scheme.
Sahil Ahmad, an employee at Dr Lal Path Labs, a diagnostic centre, said the Children’s Hospital take their services for highly specialised testing like Genetic tests and Chromosome analysis which cannot be done at the Hospital as it requires special laboratory conditions but they have not been paid for their services for the past eight months.
“We have not received money for last 8-9 months which is forcing us to discontinue our services. We have been told to wait till 1st January and after that we will not provide them any survives. We have requested them several times to release the funds but to no avail. Now the question needs to be asked if they have funds and they have taken the services why they aren’t providing the money,” he asked.
The officials at Lone pediatric hospital, GB Pant and maternity Lal Ded hospital, said that they have huge liability of the private service providers including transporters and Medical Equipment Providers but due to delay in the release of funds the service providers are mulling to discontinue their services.
“Yes, we have liabilities but the funds will come sooner or later. The delay was because of the five-month unrest. We have never had a shortage of funds,” said Medical Superintendent of LD Hospital, Mushtaq Ahmad.
Mission Director, Mohan Singh, said that the delay was due to unavailability of the audit report as auditors’ movement was curtailed following the five-month long unrest in Kashmir. “How can I release money without audit report? I have to see how and where the money was spent? There is no scarcity of funds from the Central Government but the people on the ground were unable to audit the work done. Now, that report is out and the funds will be released,” he said.
Singh further said that he has already released Rs. one crore in favor of the Principal Government Medical College and it is up to him how he distributes the money. “I have released Rs 1 crore to the Principal of Medical College and in some days more money will be given,” he added.