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Here is why our population continues to explode
Posted On Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 04:21:21 AM
Under an RTI application filed by a social activist, the hoodwinking of the Family Planning Operation (vasectomy surgery) department’s officials has been exposed.
It has been proved that health officers have been conning the state government and siphoning off amounts collected from family planning operations by showing fake names on case cards.
The scheme has clearly not benefited the needy or the governments intentions.
The scam was revealed when the district health department provided information in response to the application filed under the RTI, in which the names of those who benefitted from the scheme were asked.
But, despite the revelations, nothing is being done and the district health department is not taking any action against the concerned officers.
RTI IN ACTION
RTI activist Sharad Shetti, who filed the application in 2006, received the list of names of beneficiaries only a couple of months ago, after constantly following up the matter for two years.
To his shock, he found that in list of Hinjewadi and Man areas, 13 names out of 14 were bogus! Shetti, who is an activist working with the International Human Rights Association (IHRA) had filed the application in 2006; but the department had refused to give information citing various excuses.
When the list was received at last, the exceptional corruption in the health department came to be revealed.
Shetti says he had complained to the state Health Secretary about the district health officers, but no action has been taken so far against any officer involved in the scam.
RULE OF FLAW
Shetti, who finally approached Pune Mirror having got no response from the authorities, said, “Many economically backward women have been allotted a sum of Rs 600 as a fund for the vasectomy operation, whereas such men have been given the fund amount of Rs 1,500.
The officers in primary health centres in the rural parts of the district have been imposing the operation on many in the name of completing ‘target’.
To fulfil the target, they have to either force people into the procedure, even if they are not eligible for the operation or make a fake list and thereby receive the fund amount.
The amount given to the promoters who bring in the citizens to get such operation has also been eaten up by these officers.
PROCESS IN PAPER
Shetti explains the procedure that is to be technically followed at these centres. The beneficiaries, if male, receive Rs 1,200 and the person who promotes him receives Rs 200.
If it is female, the provision is that of Rs 400, in which Rs 250 is for the beneficiary and the other Rs 150 is given to the promoter. If the woman is from a backward class, she is given Rs 600.
THE NEED TO CHECK
Shetti says they had been getting complaints from the Hinjewadi and Man areas regarding malpractices in vasectomy surgeries.
Accordingly, they had filed the RTI application in which the entire scam was revealed. They had even lodged an First Information Report (FIR) with the Hinjewadi police station but no firm action was taken.
Shetti said, “ We found most of the addresses and names mentioned on the case cards to be fake. Also, the signatures of the concerned surgeons were absent.
One example of such a false entry is the the list showed an operation that was performed in Lonavala, but the person named happens to live in Bhosari.
Case cards have names like ‘Ajoba’, which clearly suggest that the names used to make up the list are fake.”
Primary health centres are given monthly targets that need them to complete a particular number of vasectomy surgeries.
Under the pressure to complete targets, health centre employees, concerned health officers, and surgeon have resorted to making bogus documents.
In an attempt to show big numbers, fake birth dates and names have been mentioned in the documents. Surgeons, who are part of the malpractice, normally sign under such bogus case cards.
Shetti told the Pune Mirror that while they were studying the scam, they found that in some cases, the so-called promoters have been bringing beggars, addicted persons or even aged people to undergo vasectomies. The process of surveying families is not transparent either.
The real motto of the scheme has failed as the needy have been excluded. No motivation has been given to them by the health department of the Pune district.
When Shetti and his organisation applied for another RTI application, they were told to apply independently to all the 100 primary health centres to get the list of beneficiaries. The health department is clearly trying to protect the culprits.
District Health officer Hanmantrao Chavan said that they have been conducting the inquiries as needed, but have not found any individual case. Shetti’s allegations are apparently not foolproof.
They are verifying the case again and are ready to show the document in which the inquiry has been instituted. No such ‘malpractice’ can be said to have been observed, nor has a single case been observed in which the fund amount was not distributed.
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