Private players eating up food meant for poor: Report

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New Delhi, Nov 3: Private firms have taken over the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), the government's flagship project to provide food to poor children and their mothers, with contractors in Maharashtra alone controlling supplies worth Rs 1,000 crore. It is a clear contravention of the Supreme Court orders, a report of the SC commissioners' office said.

The SC order only allows village communities, self-help groups and mahila mandals to buy and prepare food items for poor children and prohibits contractors from supplying rations. The commissioners' report said that the contractor and corporate lobby controlled the ICDS rations supply business worth Rs 8,000 crore in many states, including Karnataka, Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh, besides Maharashtra.

The ICDS is a primary social welfare scheme meant to tackle malnutrition and health problems among poor children aged below six along with their mothers. It is a major initiative to improve the brittle family health indices in the country, some of which are worse among the developing countries.

The commissioners suggested to begin an independent probe under the Supreme Court's supervision against a possible nexus between politicians, bureaucrats and private players in provisioning of rations to the ICDS, which is causing corruption on a huge scale.

The report, which has been prepared by the principal advisor to the commissioners, said the chief minister of Maharashtra was alerted about the scam continuing in the state, both by the commissioners and the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights. However, they said that the contractors had a big influence over the centres of power in the state and hence continued with their work unchecked.

OneIndia News

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