The Government has decided to replace smartphones distributed under its ‘free of cost smartphones scheme’ to Aaganwadi Sewikas amid complaints of sub-standard quality of the handsets.
The social welfare department around two years back distributed smartphones among Aaganwadi Sewikas with an attempt to increase the efficiency of the sewikas, however, there were reports of distribution of sub-standard handsets. The Government announced its plan to replace handsets, after the matter was raised by Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) MLA, Pradeep Yadav at the question hour of the Assembly Session.
Yadav, raising the matter pointed out that the social welfare department had distributed 5,400 smartphones handsets among Aaganwadi Sewikas.
The Government incurred an expenditure of Rs 3 crore, but majority of handsets, which were distributed were of poor quality and of no use. Yadav demanded the Government to lodge an FIR against the company which had distributed the handsets. Yadav said, “The case is clear cut example of misuse of public money. The State Government should lodge an FIR against the company which had distributed the smartphones. The Government should initiate the process for recovery of money from the mobile company—the manufacturer of the handsets.”
Replying over the issue, social welfare department minister, Louis Marandi said, “The company, which had distributed the mobile handsets was selected by Union Government and the State Government has no role over the selection process. However, the State Government has written a letter to concerned company for replacing sub-standard handsets.”
The Minister also stated that as the company was selected by the Central Government, the State Government has no role in registering complaint against the company.
The issue rocked the Assembly Session as Opposition members backed the demand of Pardeep Yadav, stating that the matter is very serious and it smells of big scam. Intervening on the issue, Chief Minister Raghubar Das stated that Union Government has been informed about the issue and we have demanded for replacement of all mobile handsets from the concerned company.
The Chief Minister added, “The Government has also decided to purchase the next lot of mobile handsets from Government eMarketplace. There will be transparency in entire process.” GeM is one stop Government e-Market place where common user goods and services can be procured.
The social welfare department distributed smartphones among Aaganwadi Sewikas for better monitoring of the centres. The Aaganwadi Sewikas through smartphones had to send the daily report of children and women of the centres to the department.