CAG raps state over gaps in monitoring of children homes, anganwadis
The audit conducted by Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) has found several gaping holes in allocation and monitoring of children homes across the state.
The auditor has also pointed towards the quantity and quality of the foodstuffs being supplied to anganwadi centres established to reduce mortality and morbidity of children till six years of age. MiD DAY had also carried a series of reports highlighting the deaths of children in anganwadi centres and disorganised allocation of children homes where facilities were minimal.
The audit report was tabled in the state legislature yesterday, the concluding day of the budget session. The CAG audit period ranged from the year 2007-08 to 2011-12. In its observations, the auditor said that children homes were established without proper assessment of actual requirements and enough planning. Three out of 35 districts in the state accounted for 37 per cent of the children homes. The three districts were Beed, Nanded and Latur.
Shockingly, no children homes for boys and girls were found in 151 and 309 talukas of the state. The monitoring mechanism in the department was weak, observed the CAG. In the eight out of nine districts test-checked, the shortfall in inspection of children homes by the district women and child development officers ranged between 18.75 per cent (Mumbai suburban) and 97.92 per cent (Yavatmal) during 2008-12. The shortfall in surprise checks ranged between 4.17 per cent (Osmanabad) and 100 per cent (Mumbai surburban).
The state government could not ensure establishment of district inspection committee, mandatory as per the Juvenile Justice Act-2000. Non-constitution of the district inspection committees — a vital arrangement for inspecting the children homes as required under the act — undermined proper monitoring of the children homes, said the report. The districts selected for audit by CAG were Ahmednagar, Amravati, Beed, Mumbai city, Mumbai suburban, Nagpur, Osmanabad, Pune and Yavatmal.
On the issue of malnutrition, the report said that Maharashtra stood fifth (2.33 per cent) in terms of severely underweight children in India. In two test-checked districts - Amravati (19.52) and Mumbai (26.48) — the percentage of malnutrition was higher than the state’s overall malnutrition percentage (18.85) during 2011-12.
Nineteen out of 34 child development project officers did not check the nutritional value of the food supplied to the beneficiaries in anganwadi centres. In four out of nine districts test-checked, there was a delay of three to 70 days in supply of Take Home Ration to anganwadis due to delay in placing of demands.
Joint physical inspection of 54 anganwadi centres by audit revealed a number of inadequacies of muster roll and other basic records, supply of supplementary nutrition to anganwadi workers. The shortfall in inspection of anganwadi centres by the project officers ranged between one per cent and 90 per cent during 2007-12.
The report also said that the food supplied to severely malnourished children did not confirm to the prescribed calorific norms that revealed poor oversight mechanism in the department. The diet chart did not confirm to the calorie norms prescribed by the department in August 2009. There was shortfall of energy calories in Amravati and Osmanabad district.
The supply of sukhadi, shira and upma also revealed shortfall in calorific value.
Toilet facilities were not available in 20 centres including nine in Mumbai and two in Nagpur urban.