49% students in MCD schools didn't get financial benefits under welfare schemes from 2016-23

MCD Schools: Cash subsidy for uniforms, bags, scholarships, and stationery among other benefits was provided only through the bank accounts of students.

In 2016-17, the MCD decided to transfer the funds to students bank accounts directly. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)In 2016-17, the MCD decided to transfer the funds to students bank accounts directly. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Press Trust of India | January 15, 2024 | 12:44 PM IST

NEW DELHI: As many as 48.74 per cent of students in MCD schools were deprived of financial benefits under various schemes from 2016-17 to 2022-2023 session, an audit report of the municipal body's Department of Education, shows.

According to the audit report dated November 11, 2023, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi's Education Department failed to provide the financial benefits under different schemes of the government of NCT Delhi to nearly 3,83,203 students due to non-opening of bank accounts required for the disbursement of funds.

The audit was done by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi's Office of Chief Auditor - a statutory body that is responsible for conducting monthly examinations and audits of municipal accounts and reports to the Standing Committee. An official of the Auditor's office, on condition of anonymity, confirmed the findings of the audit report. Calls and texts to MCD Commissioner Gyanesh Bharti and Mayor Shelly Oberoi for a response on the audit report went unanswered.

The MCD in 2016-17 decided to transfer all benefits/funds directly to the student's bank account through direct benefit transfer (DBT) in view of different bank accounts operating for the transfer of these funds and the time consumed for maintaining records by teachers.

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Under the move, cash subsidy for uniforms, school bags, scholarships, and stationery among other benefits was provided only through the bank accounts of students to avoid malpractice and misappropriation of funds. Earlier these welfare funds were given to the headmaster of the school through ADE/DDE for distribution in cash to students enrolled in MCD schools.

1.36 lakh students don't have bank account

The audit report observed that till November 2023, the 100 per cent target of preparing the Aadhaar Card mandatory for opening bank accounts was not achieved by the Education Department of the Municipal Corporation due to which many students could not get financial aid.

According to the report, of the total 7,86,205 students in MCD schools, only 4,03,003 students had bank accounts till November 2023. Furthermore, 1,36,599 students did not get their bank accounts opened despite having an Aadhaar card.

"Lack of proper mechanism and inconsistency to monitor/ reconciliation of database of account holders vis-a-vis the enrolled students, they were being deprived of financial assistance released by the Department under various schemes," the audit report observed, stating that the non-disbursement of the policy amount is a violation of Right to Education Act 2009.

It had asked the MCD to start the process of opening bank accounts at the beginning of the financial year 2023-2024 in April and set a deadline of June 30. The audit report also asked the corporation to issue guidelines to all schools to open bank accounts at the headquarters level in advance and suggested signing MOUs with banks to ease the implementation of the process. There was no clarity by the MCD on whether the set target has been achieved.

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