Has the West Bengal government used the mid-day meal fund for elections? requested report

West Bengal Mid Day Meal: Marking the financial irregularities in the implementation of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in West Bengal, the Central Government has summoned a report from the State Government. In this regard, the Ministry of Education has written a letter to the Education Department of the State Government.

In a letter written to the state government on Friday (July 7) by the Ministry of Education, it has been said that the funds earmarked for the mid-day meal scheme are being used for a different purpose. According to the report of the news agency ANI, sources in the Ministry of Education said on the condition of anonymity that a dormant bank account was used to transfer funds for the state elections.

Apprehension of disturbances in the use of funds earmarked for the mid-day meal

Sources said, “A senior official of the ministry has called for a report from the West Bengal government. I am directed to mention the copy of Account Transfer Transcript of Mid Day Meal Program from the specified Bank Account at Paschim Bardhaman. Looking at the fund transfer shows that the funds earmarked for mid-day meals under PM Poshan are being used for a different purpose.

He further said that however, documents provided by the state authorities on WhatsApp showed that a dormant bank account was used to transfer funds for the state elections.

What was wrong with the Mid-Day Meal Fund?

“It may be agreed that the use of different bank accounts for different purposes is contrary to the principles of financial management,” the letter to the education department of West Bengal said. A detailed report has been sought in the letter on serious financial anomalies. It states that the Single Nodal Account (SNA) created for the distribution of the Prime Minister’s Nutrition Fund contains an unexplained balance of Rs 4,174 crore.

What did the Ministry of Education say in the letter?

The Ministry of Education further said that the total amount in the single nodal account as on March 31 in 2022 was Rs 1542.17 crore, whereas in 2023-24 the state treasury has transferred only Rs 387.35 crore to this account. There was a huge and unexplained balance of Rs 4,174.28 crore in the single nodal account as on 4 July 2023. It is not clear how the balance in the SNA account increased from Rs 1542.17 crore to Rs 4,174.28 crore, while the state government certified in January 2022 that the entire unutilized amount available in the bank accounts of all implementing agencies was transferred to a single nodal account Has been.

The Ministry of Education has asked the State Department to examine the transcripts of the account ever since the account became inactive and satisfy itself that there has been no misrepresentation of facts. It also said that this is only an example of one district and similar bank accounts may exist in other districts as well, for which necessary directions may be given.

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