The Bombay High Court has expressed displeasure over the government statement that it would take at least 6 months to procure and distribute smartphones to anganwadi workers for entering beneficiaries data in the POSHAN tracker app.
“This is entirely unacceptable,” said the division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Neela Gokhale while hearing a petition by Anganwadi Karmachari Sanghatna, an association of such workers, challenging a communication issued by the state asking them to fill data of beneficiaries in the app in English.
Govt says technically qualified person looking into procurement, distribution
During the hearing, the government pleader informed the HC that the “technically qualified” person was looking into the purchase and distribution of the smartphones to anganwadi workers. A schedule was submitted to the HC which stated that it would take 45 days for technical bids and later 90 days for commercial bids.
However, the bench has said that the entire process of procurement and distribution should be completed in four months. The judges reminded the government that it has started issuing notices to anganwadi workers for not uploading data in the app.
The court noted in its order that the existing handsets (being used by anganwadi workers) are beyond warranty since 2017 or 2019 and are malfunctioning, not allowing the correct entry of data. “Yet they have been issued show cause notices. Now we are told that the new phones will take six months to deliver. Presumably, this means that for those six months, Anganwadi workers will get one show cause notice after another. This entire situation is unviable,” added the bench.
“The government cannot operate like this because the single biggest class of victims of this delay are the beneficiaries of the program,” added the judges.
HC directs Union govt to submit updated technical compliance report
Advocate RV Govilkar, appearing for the Central Government said that steps are being taken to provide a “multilingual interface”. He said that the Ministry is working towards improving the POSHAN tracker app.
The HC has directed the Union government to submit an updated technical compliance report from June 7 on the POSHAN tracker app functionality.
As regards the provision of mobile phones, the HC said it will hear the petition on August 25.