FORTY-EIGHT per cent people did not receive full two months’ ration, as promised by the Jharkhand government during the lockdown period. Out of 1,255 families inspected, which had pregnant/lactating women or children below five years of age eligible for Anganwadi support, only 1,086 families received the benefits; and among them more than a third – 34 per cent – did not receive nutritional support. Out of 1767 families eligible under Mid-May Meal scheme, around 20 per cent did not get the benefits.
These are some of the findings mentioned in a report prepared by Jharkhand’s Social Audit Unit, under the Rural Development Department, created to “promote transparency and accountability in implementation of the programs”.
The audit was conducted in 23 districts and 254 blocks of the state between April 27 and May 7, covering 4,428 families for three types of food safety schemes: Public Distribution System (PDS), Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) or Anganwadi centre, and the Mid-Day Meal plan (MDM).
The report was submitted to the respective departments on Thursday.
The audit assumes significance since this is the first such inspection done by the Social Audit Unit (SAU) on PDS — FIRs have been initially registered against several PDS dealers after complaints of irregularities in grain distribution.
The report said that besides the Covid-19 pandemic, “hunger is a major community issue faced by migrant workers and other vulnerable communities”. It reported that a “large population of Jharkhand is affected by poverty”.
SAU state coordinator Gurjeet Singh said, “Though a large number of eligible families are getting benefits of food security schemes, the small percentage not getting it might be most vulnerable.”
The report said that “2062 beneficiaries that received two or more months’ ration said that the quantity was given as per provisions, whereas 1898 people (48%) didn’t receive quantity as per provision…” The SAU reported that 91.9 per cent households in Jamatra, 73.4 per cent in Palamau, and 65.2 per cent in Dumka “didn’t receives right quantity quoted for two months or more”.
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Jharkhand had distributed double the specified ration in April — one month’s was advance for May — and an Antodaya Aay Yojna card-holder was eligible for 70 kg rice. Under Priority Household Card, each person eligible for 5 kg grains was to get double the amount.
The audit found that among the eligible 1,255 families, which had pregnant/ nursing women or children under 5 years, 1,086 were registered and the remaining 139 families were left out.
“Out of 1086, only 717 families registered with Anganwadi received nutritional food, while 369 (34%) families did not receive nutritious food…(and) maximum families belonged to Ramgarh with 32.4%, 23.0% in Jamtara and 21.0% of Godda families didn’t get nutritious food from Anganwadi centre,” the report said.
Under the Mid-Day Meal scheme, the audit found 1,767 families eligible — families which had children attending government schools in class VIII or below — and during lockdown they were provided with foodgrain at home. Out of this, 353 families — 20 per cent – did not receive any grain, the audit reported.
“We found that among 353 families, 27.3% families belonged to Godda and 14.9% belonged to Giridih that didn’t receive foodgrains under MDM…Out of 1414 families, 853 families said that they received quantity based on Midday Meal plan, while 561 families said the quantity of grains received were not as per provisions,” the report said.
It said that the districts of Koderma (34.2%), Gumla (29.8%) and Pakur (29.6%) had the “highest such share”.