The Assam Social Welfare Department has deleted about nine lakh fake entries of “ghost children’’ from beneficiary list and pruned downed the number to 35 lakh.
A statement released by the chief minister’s office this evening said the department after head counts pruned downed the number of beneficiaries to 35 lakh thus giving a relief to the state exchequer to the tune of Rs. 150 crore every year.
“Chief Minister’s Sarbananda Sonowal’s order of streamlining the functioning of Social Welfare Department and deletion of the names of ‘ghost children’ bore fruits as the department after head counts pruned downed the number of beneficiaries to 35 lakh thus giving a relief to the state exchequer to the tune of Rs. 150 crore every year,” the statement said.
The social welfare department had been siphoning off Rs 150 crore a year from the government coffers in the name of food for nine lakh children who actually do not exist.
This came to light when the department started “streamlining” its functioning following instructions from chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
“The names of pregnant mothers and lactating children and children from six month to six years were detected and deleted. These ‘ghost names’ took a huge toll on the state exchequer which is Rs. 150 crore every year,” the CMO statement said.
Chief Minister Sonowal in a meeting at Dispur on Friday asked Principal Secretary Social Welfare department Jishnu Baruah to fine-tune the functioning of the department including the Anganwadi Centres and provide nutrition to women and children who are predominantly from the underprivileged section of the society.
Sonowal also asked the Principal Secretary Baruah to expeditiously complete the survey of the specially abled people in the state so that the State government’s decision of providing financial assistance of Rs. 12,000 each to every divyangjan at the rate of Rs. 1000 every month.
He also asked the Director Social Welfare Department SS Meenakshi Sundaram to set up skill development centres for the specially-abled people for their capacity building. He also asked him that state of the art centre of Skill Development be set up in Guwahati for the devyangs.