Mumbai: On one hand over ₹43 crore are lying unspent under the Poshan Abhiyan Scheme with the government and on the other hand, the aanganwadi workers are denied incentives as they are unable to update beneficiaries' data due to non-functional mobile phones.
The aanganwadi workers have to update the details of the beneficiaries on Poshan Tracker App, based on which they are entitled for incentives.
Taking a serious note of the issue, the Bombay High Court has said that this is “entirely unacceptable” and has asked the secretary, Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, to inform the court as to when would the Central government provide funds for purchasing mobile phones for aanganwadi workers.
Prioritize the matter, court says
A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Neela Gokhale asked the Central and the state governments to “prioritize the matter, not leave it to the court, and not to precipitate a situation where the court is compelled to fix a timeline for it. ”The HC was hearing a petition filed by Anganwadi Karmachari Sanghatna challenging a communication issued by the state asking them to fill data of beneficiaries in the app in English.
State advocate AA Purav informed the HC that the Secretary of the State Women and Child Development Department (WCDD) has sent a letter to the Secretary at the Centre to utilize a certain amount for purchase of mobile phones for aanganwadi workers.
According to the communication, an amount of ₹43,17,27,628 is unspent under the Poshan Abhiyan Scheme itself. It also requested to sanction an additional Central share of ₹25.18 crore for purchase of mobile phones.
Aanganwadi workers lack functional mobile phones
Referring to a paragraph from the communication, the HC noted that it shows the “sheer absurdity” of the situation. Anganwadi workers have non-functional mobile phones and hence cannot enter data. Because they cannot enter data they are deprived of incentive.
“And if all this is not bad enough and the stuff of a bureaucratic nightmare, we are now told that no provision has been made for subsequent years for any form of incentive to Anganwadi workers,” added the court.
The HC has kept the matter for hearing on June 23.