State in no hurry to tell Centre how much NRHM money it spent

The Centre has over the past year sent numerous reminders to the state government to submit utilisation certificates for schemes under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), but state officials seems to be in no hurry to oblige.

The state health department has failed to submit utilisation certificates worth Rs 300 crore for running NRHM schemes from 2010 to 2012. This could hold up disbursal of NRHM funds by the Union Health Ministry next year.

Senior NRHM officials in Delhi said the Health Ministry was not happy with Bengal's progress in running the schemes. After sending repeated reminders to submit the documents, they called a meeting with state officials in the first week of December to get updates on the utilisation of funds. However, the meeting yielded no answers from the state officials.

Documents available with The Indian Express found that among the worst performing states with regard to submitting utilisation certificates, Bengal ranks first (Rs 300 crore) followed by Madhya Pradesh (Rs 295 crore), Maharashtra (Rs 266 crore) and Bihar (Rs 168.28 crore).

Many NRHM schemes, currently being implemented in West Bengal are now under threat (see box) as the Centre may withhold the funds for next year.

Sanghamitra Ghosh, mission director for NRHM in Bengal, said they are trying to provide utilisation certificates as soon as possible. A meeting will be convened with district officials to expedite the process, she added.

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