Hindustan Times, Bhopal, Feb 3, 2007
MADHYA PRADESH is among 11 states that were served notice by the Supreme Court for ‘dismal inaction’ in implementation of the Janani Suraksha Yojana – the Centre- sponsored health scheme meant for nutritional assistance to pregnant women.
In order dated February 1, the double bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice S N Kapoor of the apex court served notice to 11 states and the Union Government to file replies within four weeks and three weeks respectively as to why there was inaction in the scheme’s implementation. The Union Government has also been asked to indicate as to how it proposes to monitor the implementation of the schemes by the state government and in what way there can be more coordinated effort for implementing the schemes.
The other states to get the notice from Supreme Court are Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Bihar, Delhi, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Rajasthan, Orissa and Jammu and Kashmir.
The notices have been served in response to a petition filed by civil society organisation, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and based on an analytical report on the matter compiled and presented to the SC by its permanent commissioners N C Saxena and Harsh Mander.
The State Health Department, however, has outright rejected failure of implementation. Health Commissioner Dr Rajesh Rajora told the Hindustan Times that Madhya Pradesh, at present, is the topmost state in the implementation of the JSY. He said that only recently the state health department made a presentation regarding the scheme before the Union Government’s Joint Review Mission. He added the scenario could be well gauged from fact that as against 68,000 beneficiaries in 2005-06, 1.95 lakh women were benefited by the scheme in 2006-07 (till date).
The Supreme Court, however, has taken a very serious view of the analytical report by its commissioners that incorporates a number of complaints regarding implementation of scheme.
The apex court has asked the Centre to also indicate whether it would be in the interest of the beneficiaries if the funds were directly placed at the disposal of Gram Panchayats.
The funds under the JSY is available with the Chief Medical and Health Officer of the district concerned and the centralised disbursal system makes it difficult for the funds to reach beneficiaries in time. In its order, the Supreme Court also quotes the Commissioners’ report that the non-performance in rural areas is more acute.
“It would be appropriate if the Union of India and the state governments take steps to make the beneficiaries aware of the benefits of the schemes and the entitlements flowing there from’’ observes the Supreme Court order. The senior counsel for the PUCL Colin Gonsalves has been asked to compile the responses (of the union and state governments) and to give his (Gonsalves’s) suggestion as regards the modes to the adopted for better results. The matter would be taken up for hearing again in third week of March.