GUWAHATI, March 2 - A number of anomalies have been detected in functioning of the Social Welfare Department and based on findings of investigation, legal action will be taken against people found involved in such activities, the State Government has said.
Replying to the discussion on �Demands for Grants of the Social Welfare Department� at the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, Minister for Social Welfare Naba Kumar Doley said that the State Government has a zero tolerance policy with regard to corruption and will not compromise on the issue.
He said that several legislators have in recent days raised the issue and expressed concern about corruption in the Social Welfare Department.
�After our Government took charge, we have taken the matter seriously and started verification, which showed anomalies in the data concerning the number of child beneficiaries in the ICDS project. As against 44 lakh child beneficiaries, the actual number was found to be only 35 lakh. Similarly, 394 non-existing anganwadi centres also came to light,� Doley said.
He added, �Preliminary investigation further revealed that material under the Mahila Samridhi Yojana (MSY) scheme were procured at rates much higher than normal market rates in clear violation of norms. Immediately a case was registered with the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Directorate for and the investigating agency is probing the matter and has seized documents. Based on results of investigation, legal action will be taken against those involved.�
Doley said that steps have been taken to make the process of procurement more transparent and e-tender has been made compulsory for purchase of items worth more than Rs 5 lakh.
He said that the direct benefit transfer scheme has been launched for specially-abled beneficiaries.
With regard to the low honorarium for anganwadi workers and sahayikas, he said that the Government is committed to their welfare.
Of the over 61,000 anganwadi centres in Assam, around 38,000 have permanent structures, while the rest are located at rented accommodations, schools, clubs and other such places.
Doley said that the target is to have 5,000 anganwadi centres shifted to permanent structures within the next five years. Further, other centres will also be repaired and renovated, if necessary.
The Minister said that steps will be taken for filling up of vacancies in the Social Welfare Department.
A survey is being carried out to identify specially-abled beneficiaries for welfare schemes and it is expected to be completed by March-end.
Doley said that the State Government has already taken a decision to bifurcate the Social Welfare Department into two entities � Women and Child Development Directorate and Social Justice and Empowerment Directorate � for streamlining its functioning and ensure better service delivery.