Procurement of ICDS food items: Social Welfare deptt to explore alternative models

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SRINAGAR: The Social Welfare Department has decided to adopt alternate best practices/models for procurement of nutrition items under Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) to ensure that the supplies to Anganwadi centres are made in a time-bound manner and quality of procured items is guaranteed.
“Keeping in view the prevailing mechanism of procurement of nutrition items under ICDS and prevalent bottle-necks due to nexus of various actors, litigations and with an aim to ensure quality of nutrition items procured, Social Welfare Department intends to adopt some other Best Practices/Models by dispensing with existing model so that the supplies at Anganwadi levels in a time bound manner are ensured and quality of procurement items guaranteed,” said a notification issued by the Director Finance, Social Welfare Department.
It said the change-over is in tune with the Supreme Court directions calling for universalization of procurement in a time bound manner through de-centralized procedure by eliminating involvement of contractors and encouraging engagement of local Self-Help Groups and MahilaMandals in supply and distribution process.
It said, however, before switchover to any new model, the stakeholders are requested to furnish their comments/views, in writing to Director Finance, Social Welfare Department, Civil Secretariat, Srinagar at email at: socialwelfare.admn@gmail.com within 15 days enabling the department to work out modalities/broad contours of any of the models for future procurement.
“Once the views of Stakeholders are received and crystalized, broad contours of the new model shall be formulated and notified,” it said.
The proposed alternative procurement models are available on official website of the Social Welfare Department at wwvv.jksocialwelfare.nic.in.
Giving a brief overview of the proposed models, the notification said that Model-I also called Odisha Model involves local procurement by Anganwadi Workers, except rice and wheat, to reduce the chances of pilferage during transportation. The system has been designed in a manner that allows greater involvement of community in actual implementation.
If adopted, under this model items like, rice, sugar and possibly pulses (Channa & Moongi) can be procured through Department of Food Supplies and Consumer Affairs and the remaining items are proposed to be purchased locally by constituting a small committee at Anganwadi Level. The proposed committee may comprise of Anganwadi Worker, a teacher from the nearest Government School and a representative of Panchayat Raj/institution to be nominated by Panchayat Raj Institute concerned. The committee shall purchase the items locally after ascertaining the genuineness of the rates and quality of the items to be procured.
As per the Model-II, the procurement can be de-centralized to District Level Committees with the only change that the committees headed by the Deputy Commissioner or District Programme Officer of the concerned district. The Deputy Commissioners are always busy in varied administrative issues so they do not have enough time to participate in this procurement process and District Programme Officer is always a senior officer of the rank of Additional Deputy Commissioner as such he may be the Chairman of the Committee in absence of Deputy Commissioner. The other members of the Committee may be Chief Accounts Officer of the concerned District Fund Office, General Manager, DIC concerned, District Social Welfare Officer and Assistant Director, Food and Supplies. CDPO headquarter and Chief Medical Officer. The committee shall be asked to complete the procurement process as per the guidelines/timelines fixed by Government from time to time. The committee shall ensure quality of the nutrition items after applying proper checks and balances required for the purpose.
Under Model-III government may tie up with leading NGOs to provide cooked and hygienic meals in consonance with the requirement of the beneficiaries. This method of providing nutrition can be applied on pilot basis in any two plain districts of the state like Jammu and Samba in the first instance.
There could be some other models which will be considered by the Department to bring transparency and accountability in the system.