With murder of two health officials in Uttar Pradesh bringing to focus misuse of central funds under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), a Union Health Ministry audit found irregularities to the tune of hundreds of crores in the scheme in the last two years.
A 20-member team, constituted by the Ministry in May this year following complaints of misuse of NRHM funds in Uttar Pradesh, also found anomalies in procurement and civil construction work.
In its 400-page report to the Ministry, the team's audit says "irregularities in procedures were noticed during awarding of contracts for mobile medical units, hospital waste management, hospital cleaning and gardening, safe drinking water (RO System) etc".
The report also pointed out that "of the Rs 334.62 crore available with the state director general (Family Welfare) for procurement during 2009-2011, expenditure of only 53% of the funds (Rs 178.65 crore) had been reported till May 12, 2011 (a day before the central review team landed)".
"No open tender system was followed to ensure competitive cost-effective bidding and full payments amounting to Rs 244.26 crore were made to project implementing agencies (PIA), without any formal agreement entered into with them in 2010-11," the central audit also points out.
The audit report also noticed "poor monitoring of progress of civil construction and absence of penal action against defaulting firms for delay in completion of works".
The review team report also points to lack of advance planning prior to procuring vehicles under the Emergency Medical Transport Services (EMTS).