An audit of Janani Suraksha Yojna beneficiaries in Uttar Pradesh has come up with some startling facts.
To avail the scheme’s benefits, a 60-year-old woman in Bahraich was shown to have delivered a baby five times in 10 months, while another who never conceived in 12 years was paid Rs 1,400 as honorarium by the health department.
Officials responsible for the scheme’s implementation are being probed and an inquiry is on, to unravel the discrepancies.
“We are looking at a “large pan-UP scam” in which employees of primary health centres make transfers of Rs 1,400 to innocent women in rural areas, give them a measly cut and pocket the rest,” said authorities.
In the Baundi PHC alone, 200 such cases were found. The district magistrate has ordered a probe and suspended five employees.
The scheme was introduced in 2005 for the benefit of poor pregnant women. Its aim was to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality by encouraging institutional delivery.
“I am awaiting a report from the bank. I will take action against the guilty, once I receive it. A new mother is given Rs 1,400 honorarium to encourage her to eat nutritious food; it is unfortunate that is being misused,” said additional director, health, Dr Subodh Sharma.
To cite another example, Asha Devi had received Rs 1,400 honorarium when she gave birth to a baby on February 28. She had claimed a similar amount in March and on May 20 too. Rajeshwari Devi of Barahi village also claimed Rs 1,400 on August 24, 2011, but it was known later the last time she gave birth was 12 years ago.
Bank officials grew suspicious when Asha came to deposit cheques three time in four months and complained to the health department; thereafter, more such instances came tumbling out.