After global recognition, Delhi’s Mohalla Clinics now face vigilance probe
The vigilance department of Delhi government has initiated an inquiry into “operational” issues related to Mohalla Clinics - a flagship project of Arvind Kejriwal’s government to provide free health care to city residents closer home.
Sources said while department had received several complaints, the probe is primarily being done on two counts - the total money being paid to consultant doctors and rent amount for a few mohalla clinics functioning at hired properties.
As per the arrangement, consultants (doctors), who have been hired to provide service at the mohalla clinics are paid Rs 30 for every patient they attend to.
Sources said the department has received complaints of doctors “fudging” the number of patients they see every day, besides “unnecessarily” calling the patients repeatedly to “inflate” the numbers.
The Aam Aadmi Party government has been claiming that mohalla clinics are a huge success and a record number of patients are treated here. The project has received global recognition with leaders such as former UN general secretary Kofi Annan and former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland lauding the initiative. UK’s The Lancet - one of the oldest medical journals in the world - also praised the concept last December.
Ashwani Kumar, director (vigilance), confirmed the development. “Relevant information on these issues is being ascertained from the health department. Once all information is gathered, the next course of action will be decided after probe,” Kumar told Hindustan Times.
As a procedure, the vigilance department officials said the matter will be forwarded to the anti-corruption branch (ACB) if any ‘criminality’ is found in the matter.
“If the probe establishes that any ‘forgery’ was committed in the process, the matter will be forwarded to the ACB,” an official said.
Sources said the department had received complaints from private individuals on several counts including payment to doctors, issues related to location of these centres and rents being paid against few, besides some administrative decisions related to these health centres.
However, complaints on only two issues were found to have merit and they are being verified.