Mid-day meal: banks to curb gram pradhans on a spending spree

For the first time,the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Authority has decided to take the help of banks to ensure that gram pradhans maintain transparency while managing finances involved in the scheme.

Written by Neha Attre | Lucknow | Published: February 7, 2009 2:49 am

For the first time,the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Authority has decided to take the help of banks to ensure that gram pradhans maintain transparency while managing finances involved in the scheme.

The authority is holding negotiations with the Allahabad Bank,the Union Bank and a few others to use their core banking facility in making the pradhans accountable.

The initiative is likely to be functional from the next academic session.

“The gram pradhans withdraw the entire amount sanctioned for scheme for the entire year at one go. In several instances,it has been found that they were not maintaining registers,” said Santosh Rai,Additional Director of MDM Authority.

He added,“There were also anomalies. As a result,we were not able to supervise the expenditure made by the pradhans.” The authority has issued notices to Basic Shiksha Adhikaris (BSA) and financial officers of 14 districts,including Agra,Balia,Mau and Mathura.

“Despite repeated reminders,they have not sent their financial statements,” Rai added.

At present,only 17 districts have submitted their yearly financial statements,signed by the district magistrates. While 21 districts have asked for more time,19 districts have sent statements signed by the BSA. “With the help of the core banking facility,we can inquire about the financial status of any district from anywhere in the state,” said Rai. Moreover,the money sanctioned for a village will be deposited in an account and the pradhans will be authorised to withdraw only a month’s expense at a time.

“The gram pradhans will have to submit statements by the fourth of each month,duly signed by the respective BSAs,” said Rai.

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