The Hindu: Mumbai: Sunday, April 09, 2017.
Social activist Anil Galgali elicited the data through a Right to Information (RTI) application, which showed of the total sanctioned strength of officers, 692 posts, 464 remain vacant. These officers are the primary link between the State and the social service institutions that bring various government initiatives to vulnerable sections of women and children. The initiatives include assistance in child birth, curbing malnutrition deaths.
Responding to the RTI queries by Galgali, the office of the Superintendent of Women & Child Welfare Commission revealed that 429 of the 554 posts of Child Development Project Officers (Rural Project, class I category) were lying vacant. Similarly, only 33 of the 104 posts for Child Development Project Officers (Urban Project, Class I category) are yet to be filled up. Two of the 34 posts of Women and Child Officers at the district level were also lying vacant.
The RTI query exposes the State government’s claims of ensuring a delivery mechanism that reaches out to the vulnerable sections of society. The information gleaned by Galgali indicates that the post of both Commissioner and Secretary is currently held by the same person, Vinita Ved Singhal.
One person, two posts
The Maharashtra government appointed Singhal as Secretary (Women and Child Welfare department) to replace Sanjay Kumar who was transferred recently. Singhal already held the post of Commissioner in the Integrated Child Welfare Scheme department with additional charge of the Commission.
When contacted, Minister for Women and Child Welfare, Pankaja Munde, told The Hindu , “We have been making efforts to fill the vacancies. However, the vacancies have to be filled up according to the priorities of target regions. The focus will be on Vidarbha, followed by Marathwada, and then other regions. Similarly, we are dependent upon the Maharashtra Public Service Commission examinations to provide us with the candidates to fill up these posts.”
Ms. Munde added, “Two days back, the State cabinet has cleared a proposal to fill up the vacancies in the wake of the high incidence of malnutrition cases. We will be filling up the posts soon so that the government schemes are able to reach the target segments of women and children.” With the cabinet nod, she added that, “we will be filling up almost 147 posts in the coming month itself. The vacancies will be reduced to less than 50%,” said Ms. Munde.