A woman, as everyone knows, usually gives birth to a baby after nine months of pregnancy, but in Bihar 298 women claim to have delivered two to five children in a span of 60 days - at least that's what records of incentives amount given to new mothers under a government scheme show.
A woman gets around Rs.1,000 when she gives birth under the government's Janani Suraksha Yojana but a total of Rs.6.6 lakh was paid as incentive to 298 women who claimed to have delivered two to five children within 60 days under the scheme, says a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) that exposes corruption in the state.
These irregularities were found in the year 2008-09 in the districts of Bhagalpur, East Champaran, Gopalganj, Kishanganj and Nalanda, according to the CAG report 2009 tabled in the monsoon session of the state assembly that concluded last week.
"The concerned officials paid incentives under the Janani Suraksha Yojana to these women two to five times in 60 days," the report says.
Unfortunately, thousands of genuine lactating mothers were denied the incentive due to them. The CAG report says that of 470,307 new mothers, 97,146 were not provided cash incentives under the Janani Suraksha Yojana for want of funds. Also, payment of Rs.25.19 crore to 1.8 lakh beneficiaries were made after a delay ranging between eight and 732 days.
Opposition leaders criticised the state government for the corruption in the implementation of the Janani Suraksha Yojana in the state.
"All this is happening in Bihar when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is claiming good governance. This is just a trailer of the unbelievable corruption in implementation of welfare schemes," Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) state president Abdul Bari Siddiqui said.
Said Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) youth leader Gopal Sharma: "High corruption during Nitish Kumar's four-and-a-half year rule has eaten into welfare schemes like in the case of Janani Suraksha Yojana exposed by the CAG report."