Rampant corruption in Anganwadis endangers health of children in J&K


The government would do well to find out a way by which social grants could go directly to the beneficiaries of various social welfare schemes as done in the case of LPG subsidy. The reason being that there is massive pilferage of resources and money from various schemes run by social welfare department, and this particularly is true in case of Anganwadi centres in the state.

A random survey of the food supplied in anganwadi centres in Jammu province reveals that quality of food is very poor, and in fact it could prove a health hazard for the children. Laboratory tests show the food lacks nutrition, is cooked in an unhealthy manner and sub-standard. Jammu has almost 20,000 anganwadis, and one can imagine the plight of the children who go to these government run institutions. Who is responsible for this mess? Undoubtedly the government officials who from the purchase to final cooking, and serving are more interested in making a quick and big buck then serve the poor and needy children. Their own children go to air-conditioned and upmarket nurseries, and study in private schools so they are not afraid of something happening to their kids. It was revealed recently that suji, pulses, oil, grams and mustard oil being used in the anganwadis in Samba was much below the standards. But will the government act to check this rampant corruption.

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The authorities have also allegedly purchased playthings, games, and other equipment for these centres worth crores of rupees but there are charges that huge commissions are paid to cut the deals. In fact some of the officials even did not have the authorization to make purchases but they have gone ahead irrespective of the rules and regulation. The reality is that the government officials knowing that they have political patronage do not worry about such clandestine deals as everyone is having a cut so no one is bothered about consequences. If in case someone who does not fits the system comes into the picture then either he is forced to be a part of the corruption or else eased out of the way. The corruption in anganwadi has come out in the open in Samba, and it is prevalent all across the state. The need now is either to punish the culprits or handover the anganwadis to private players who can be paid to run quality day care centres for the children.