There are around 1,88,259 anganwadi centres in the state and according to the ministry, more than 18 lakh children are enrolled under the scheme.
“The information was provided to us by the state after we asked them to conduct an inquiry. The fake beneficiaries are actually those who do not exist but were drawing benefit from the scheme for so long. The ghost beneficiaries have been removed from the list,” a Ministry official told IANS.
The official stated that linking of the Aadhaar card for drawing benefits has helped the government to remove the ghost beneficiaries.
Under the supplementary nutrition scheme of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), 14 lakh anganwadis provide home rations to a total of 4.6 crore infants and 1.9 crore mothers and hot cooked meals to 3.6 crore children aged between three and six across the country.
Under the scheme, at the rate of a minimum Rs 8 that is spent on each beneficiary per day – 60 per cent share by Centre and 40 per cent by state and the official noted that removing fake beneficiaries has helped the government to save around Rs 70 lakh per day.
Earlier this year, a state-level inquiry by the Assam government had revealed the presence of 14 lakh “fake children” in the beneficiary list.