Decentralised procurement policy to ensure transparency
JAMMU: The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met here on Friday under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved the ‘Decentralized Policy for Procurement of Supplementary Nutrition’ under the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) Scheme to bring transparency, accountability and greater involvement of community in the implementation of the nutrition scheme. The policy shall be effective from the procurement year 2019-20.
Under the policy, procurement of nutrition items will have to be strictly as per recipe menu displayed in the Anganwadi Centres and to be preferably procured from Super Bazaar/Cooperative Stores/Fixed Price Shops/Registered Local Shop keepers on the rates not exceeding the rates notified by FCS&CA.
The new policy has been framed as per the delegation of powers of Panchayati Raj Institutions under the amended Panchayati Raj Act. Under the revised policy, supplementary nutrition shall be procured at Halqa Panchayat/Municipal Ward level.
Based on suggestions of all the stakeholders and analysis of procurement models followed in different states particularly in Kerala, Uttarakhand and Odisha, procurement process under the scheme has been decentralised to the Anganwadi level except for Rice and Wheat which will continue to be procured from Food Corporation of India (FCI) through Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs.
The procurement at Anganwadi level will be made under the supervision of respective Panchayati Raj Institutions as per the delegation of powers to Panchayati Raj Institutions under the amended Panchayati Raj Act.
The procurement process will be ensured through various committees including Procurement Committee-Rural, Procurement Committee-Urban and a Recipe Committee, under the chairpersonship of Sarpanch, Municipal Councillor/Corporator and District Programme Officer respectively.
A district level monitoring committee under the District Development Commissioner (DDC) with representatives from line departments will on monthly basis review the progress of implementation of nutrition programme under ICDS and submission of report to Mission Director, ICDS, for pointing out any deficiency, and give necessary recommendations for improvement/strengthening of the present policy; resolve inter-departmental issues, if any, at district level and supervise and monitor procurement, expenditure, quality control, hygiene and other related issues.
ICDS has six main components – Supplementary Nutrition, Immunisation, Health Check-up, Referral Services, Non-formal pre-school education, and Nutrition and Health Education. The first component i.e. Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) involves supply of food materials to Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) to ensure adequate nutrition for children aged 0-6 years, pregnant and lactating mothers and adolescent girls. However, the implementation of this programme suffered due to various transparency, quality and delay in supply issues. Further, under the centralised system, Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) did not have any control over the quantity and quality of food supply. Therefore, a need was felt for an alternate Model.
Moreover, Supreme Court has issued orders with regard to ICDS directing “Universalization with quality” and prescribed minimum nutrition standards that must be guaranteed and further envisaged decentralisation of procurement by eliminating the involvement of contractors, encouraging engagement of local Self-Help Groups and Mahila Mandals in supply and distribution of nutrition.
It may be reiterated that with the implementation of the new policy, the targeted groups viz. children aged 0-6 years, pregnant and lactating mothers and adolescent girls will be effectively covered.