THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The non-completion of projects and improper transfer of funds to individual accounts by the State Health Systems Resource Centre (SHSRC) has invited criticism from the National Health Mission (NHM) funding all the projects. Taking serious note of the issue brought out by Express, NHM has sought SHSRC’s clarification. It has been sought based on reports exposing the delay in completing the projects for the past two years and transfer of funds to the account of research officers on deputation without the consent of the governing body, the executive committee or NHM.
“I have gone through the issues that have been reported,” NHM State Mission director Keshvendra Kumar told Express. “NHM has sought a clarification from the SHSRC director.” He said any action can be taken only after the clarification is filed. On the transfer of funds to accounts of individuals, Kumar said clarification was sought on all these issues and any decision can be taken only after SHSRC’s report.
NHM had sanctioned six research projects in 2015-16 and four in 2016-17 as part of its Programme Implementation Plan (PIP) budget. Express pointed out how no research activity was completed in the past two years and the funds were transferred to the officers’ accounts.
In an RTI reply, SHSRC said data collection was not over yet and only ‘tool developed training for research officers was over’ in the four studies taken up in 2016-17. For the six projects undertaken in 2015-16, it said no expenditure has been incurred, meaning no work was completed. A total of `53.50 lakh was sanctioned for the projects. Health Secretary Rajeev Sadanandan had earlier said there were some pending project works and funds might have been transferred to research officers to show the expenditure.
Even SHSRC executive director K S Shinu admitted there was a delay in taking up research projects till 2016. However, he said transfer of funds was a usual procedure and it was transferred to the account of the research officers for conducting studies.