Discrepancies running over Rs 4 crore have been found in the take-home ration programme for out-of-school girls in four districts of Madhya Pradesh, according to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).
In a letter to the state economic offence wing, the NCPRC asked to file a case and sought an action-taken report within 10 days.
The NCPCR in the letter, seen by NDTV, said discrepancies in the take-home ration scheme have been found in Betul (Rs 117.25 lakh), Gwalior (Rs 128.54 lakh, Dindori (Rs 51.04 lakh) and Singrauli (Rs 130.02 lakh).
In Singrauli, the number of out-of-school girls according to the Women and Child Development Department in 2018-19 was 53,554, but the figure provided by the Madhya Pradesh school education department was zero.
In 2019, NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo had made a surprise visit to several districts in Madhya Pradesh, including an Anganwadi centre in Vidisha, where she found take-home ration being consumed by people other than the beneficiaries.
The NCPCR found that a large number of girls in the 11-14 age group were out of school. When the commission sought information from the Women and Child Development Department, it was told that 2,17,211 girls were out of school, of which 1,71,365 girls were getting services from the Anganwadi as in February 2019.
The Department of School Education, however, told the NPCPR that there were 23,491 out-of-school children in the 11-14 age group, of which 8,680 were adolescent girls.
The NCPCR eventually requested the Accountant General of Madhya Pradesh to look into the matter. A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the four districts – Betul, Gwalior, Dindori and Singrauli – found financial irregularities of Rs 4 crore in the take-home ration programme in one year.
The state government said the previous Congress government is responsible for the discrepancies.
“Whosoever will be found guilty will be punished, but this is the result of rampant corruption during Congress regime. We are investigating the entire matter. Senior Congress leader and former cabinet minister Jitu Patwari said ‘on one hand they do kanya poojan before any function, on the other hand they don’t even spare the take-home ration of poor girls. I believe Shivraj Singh had failed,” Madhya Pradesh Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang said.
The CAG has started a bigger investigation into the take-home ration scheme in all 52 districts in the state.