WHILE INDORE district’s social security pension scam has been making headlines from the past several years, a host of similar irregularities that occurred in the same scheme in all 48 districts of Madhya Pradesh during the same time have gone almost unnoticed.
According to the figures of the State Panchayat and Social Welfare Department, more than 1.58 lakh beneficiaries among the 12.09 lakh persons availing benefit of the social security pension scheme across the State were found ineligible during a physical verification drive conducted in 2005. Not even a single district was found free of ineligible beneficiaries during the drive.
It is, however, surprising that the State Government has not yet been able to fix responsibilities on officials found guilty of misappropriation of government funds even after a year of the survey.
All that the State Government has apparently done so far is to issue directives to municipal and panchayat authorities of all districts to take action in the matter. “We have instructed municipal and panchayat bodies to take appropriate action against officials found involved in the irregularities,” State Social Justice Department Principal Secretary Dr Bhagirath Prasad told the Hindustan Times on Monday.
Dr Prasad, however, did not give a direct reply to the question why no action had been taken against any official so far. “We will take action against officials found guilty of misusing government funds with a mala fide intent,’’ was all that he stated, adding, no such significant case was reported till now.
He maintained that all the ineligible beneficiaries had been eliminated from the scheme’s purview subsequent to the verification drive conducted in 2005.
The physical verification drive had found out that in terms of percentage of ineligible beneficiaries the irregularities that occurred in Gwalior and Harda districts were in fact bigger than Indore district.
Of the total 20,068 beneficiaries identified physically in the drive in Gwalior district, as many as 8,585 were found ineligible. The percentage of fraudsters in the district was 42.78, highest in the State. Similarly, almost 39 per cent beneficiaries were found ineligible in Harda district. As many as 2,907 persons were found ineligible amongst the total 7,458 beneficiaries in the district.
Percentage-wise the scam in Indore district was third highest, recording 33.99 per cent fraud beneficiaries. In terms of actual number of ineligible beneficiaries, however, Indore topped the notorious list. Almost 24,014 people amongst 70,641 beneficiaries were found ineligible in the survey.
Even in Bhopal district, 12,728 people – amounting to 30.14 per cent - were found ineligible amongst the total 42,230 beneficiaries. Ratlam saw 8,157 ineligible people amongst 19,275 beneficiaries. Almost 22 per cent recipients in Dindori district were ineligible while Neemuch district reported 2,361 ineligible beneficiaries amongst 11,900 persons.
Vidisha district saw about 5,000 fraudsters out of 32,901 beneficiaries, Rajgarh had 4,770 such persons and Chhatarpur had 2,639 ineligible beneficiaries, according to the State Government figures.
More than 1.58 lakh beneficiaries not eligible
Govt has directed municipal and panchayat bodies to take action
Action against unscrupulous officials mooted
Bhopal too has seen irregularities