RTI reply shows eligibility norms flouted

Bhuj, October 3 The Right To Information (RTI) Act has once again proved the whistle-blower. In a case of irregularities in appointment of aanganwadi workers in Kutch, the powerful Act has brought to fore how three women were appointed to the posts when they were not eligible in terms of age.

In August, some aanganwadi workers, working under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), had approached Gujarat High Court, citing ‘faulty recruitment rules’ for the promotion to the post of Mukhya Sevika (head worker). The High Court then directed the district administration to settle the issue amicably.

Meanwhile, the aanganwadi workers, under RTI, sought information about the list of candidates who were likely to be promoted as Mukhaya Sevika. The information obtained under RTI brought to light three cases where aanganwadi workers had been appointed in violation of their age criteria.
The three appointments were made even if the candidates were underage_ less than 18 years of age. Not only that, their names were recommended for promotion, and one was already promoted as Mukhya Sevika.

“The information shows that three aganwdai workers, at the time of appointment, were underage. Of the three, one has got promotion,’’ said Ghanshyam Gor, aganwadi workers’ lawyer, adding that a civil suit may by filed in a local court after consultation with other workers.

The information given by Bhavnaben Zadia, programmme officer of ICDS, raises question on the recruitment of Bhavnaben Prajapati, Geetaben Sevak and Amitaben Damor. While Bhavnaben was just 13 years and 8 months old when appointed as aanganwadi worker on April 12 in 1990, Geetaben was 16 years 7 months old when she joined as aanganwadi worker on May 14,1989. Similarly, Amitaben was 17 years 9 months old at the time of her appointment on March 2, 1993.

Gor said, after examining the case of Minaxiben Gor, they had found that her name should have been there in the list of the promotes. According to him, Minaxiben was given appointment order by the Taluka Development Officer, Nakhatrna, on April 5,1988. The same date she also reported for duty. The district panchayat’s list of aanganwadi workers, presented to the High Court in August this year, also reveals the same date _ April 5,1988.

However, the list, provided under the RTI, presents her appointment date as April 12,1988. ‘’If the date of her appointment and the date on which she reported for duty are taken into account, she is entitled for for the promotion. There must be some foul play, ‘’ he said. While programme officer Zadia did not comment, Deputy Development Officer N R Damor pleaded ignorance in the matter.

RTI reply shows eligibility norms flouted