Rampant corruption discovered in family planning scheme

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Old 05-Aug-2011
Rampant corruption discovered in family planning scheme

Patna: Can a woman undergo tubectomy more than a dozen times in a year?

"Hypothetical question" as one would say but in Bihar, a middle-aged woman from a backward Kaimur district is claimed to have undergone this surgical operation altogether 14 times in one year!

She is not the solitary example either. There are scores of women like her who claim to have undergone this surgical procedure several times within one year under the government's family planning schemes and received the cash incentives.

The startling revelation indicating how the rampant corruption prevailing in the government schemes is defeating the basic purpose of the government came to light after an internal audit team of State Health Society visited the Kaimur district recently and investigated the list of beneficiaries of family planning programme.

Tubectomy, also referred to as Tubal Sterilisation or Family Sterilization, is a surgical procedure done on women as a permanent method of contraception.

The audit teams were startled to find that the names of several of beneficiaries had been repeated many a time in the list. These "beneficiaries" are claimed to have undergone the tubectomy at health camps organized by several NGOs.

"To my dismay, the names of some of the beneficiaries have been repeated many a time in the list which means a large chunk of money has been siphoned off by the organisers", the executive director of the State Health Society, Bihar Sanjay Kumar told the media yesterday. According to him, a total of over Rs5 million is claimed to have been paid towards this surgical operation.

Kumar who also happens to be the state health secretary said the government was trying to find out identity of the NGOs involved in the racket. Under this scheme, the government pays Rs600 to each woman who opts for family planning at government-run health facilities. Its basic purpose is to stabilise the population, and also minimize maternal and infant mortality rates by promoting the institutional delivery but this cash incentive has led corruption flourish.

Last year, a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General had said altogether 298 women claimed to have delivered two to five children within 60 days to claim a cash incentive of Rs1,000 given to a woman when she delivers a birth.

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