Scandal disgraces Social Welfare Deptt

It looks atrocious, at the very outset, to learn about irregularities, fraudulent practices and scurrilous reports of accommodations plaguing the State Social Welfare Department where both morality and law have reportedly been violated. The benefit of social security schemes is, in many cases being “extended” to a large number of people who cannot claim to be the lawful beneficiaries in any case. In simple parlance, this is called manipulated “accommodation” which implies knowingly passing on or facilitating a pecuniary benefit to a person by the one who has powers or discretion to sanction it, otherwise, under well established laws and procedures.
The morality is plummeted to the levels of even drawing monetary benefits in the name of the dead and nonexistent or fake people. Obviously, it cannot be the handiwork of one or two “insiders” only but the involvement of many from within the department as also outsiders colluding with one another in the loot, cannot be ruled out. How much has the loss been caused to be suffered by the public exchequer could surface only after a proper, assertive and sincere probe was ordered immediately and facts brought into the domain of the public. Criminal conspiracy appears to have been entered into between the officers, subordinate staff of the Social Welfare Department and the recipients of illegal money.
It is surprising that audit and inspections like institutions are alien to the systems in various State departments and if there is any, its reports are not mandated to be attended to within a very limited period of time say a week or two at the best, replied and action taken in matters of where irregularities took place. Inspections and audits on unspecified periodicity and the due importance given to them by the higher authorities alone is a guarantee to a larger extent against occurrence of such scandals and defalcations. It is another thing that by chance, while asking for some information or data from some authorities not necessarily connected with the particular department, that such frauds having taken place gets known.
In the instant case, Deputy Commissioner Doda collected data in respect of beneficiaries seeking pension under the Integrated Social Security Scheme of the State Government and National Social Assistance Programme of the Central Government in the categories of old age, widows and physically challenged persons from the District Social Welfare Officer. When the list so provided was subjected to austere verification by concerned Tehsildars which took them a month or so, stunning revelations came to fore and the whole humane exercise of “helping” the genuine and the needy was unmasked. As many as 1930 persons were found those ones, who by no account merited receiving of the public money as “pensions”.
The question which must be agog with knowing as to for how many years this fraudulent practice had been going on in this department, becomes pertinent. The details , however, are that amount at the rate of Rs.1000 per month were drawn in the names of 780 dead persons across the district, 165 widows as fake beneficiaries, while 710 persons could not be traced at all despite putting in all efforts. Most appalling is that 23 Government employees have been drawing “pension” under these schemes. These employees belong to Education, Public Health Engineering, Police and Revenue Departments. Many “genuine” ones are drawing double pensions under both the State and central sponsored schemes.
We reiterate that a full fledged enquiry should be instituted and till the submission of the report, the suspected employees should immediately be removed from the department and either suspended or kept attached with some other departments lest records and documents were tampered with in any case to thwart the process of legal action against them.