New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) President of the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW), which selects children for the National Bravery Awards every year, on Sunday said the NGO has nothing to do with the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD).
The NGO, which has been selecting children for the bravery awards since 1957, came under fire after the WCD Ministry lodged an FIR against it for misusing government-allocated funds.
According to the Ministry, the NGO has been misusing government-allocated funds and failed to refund the unspent balance of more than Rs 30,914,051 for the years (2014-16).
“I don’t know on what grounds WCD has filed an FIR. They have never communicated with us related to unutilised funds. Even our awards have nothing to do with the Ministry,” President Gita Siddhartha told IANS.
“We don’t have the FIR, neither have we seen it. We have not even been called to the police station. Unless we see the copy of the FIR, we cannot comment on how we will proceed with the case,” she added.
Earlier, following a writ petition in the Delhi High Court which alleged that ICCW had been violating the rules for utilising government funds, a three-member committee under the WCD Ministry was formed to determine if the funds were “siphoned off or misutilised”.
The Ministry observed “that there has been a systemic failure as far as checks and balances regarding utilization of the funds provided by the government is concerned”.
Following this, the court ordered that it would consider if further investigation was necessary or any other proceedings are required to be initiated against the ICCW.
Following the petition, the Centre dissociated itself from the ICCW. In 2018, bravery was included as an additional component in the Pradhan Mantri National Children Awards.
“The kids selected by us deserve to be awarded for their bravery. They are at no fault so we will give away the award if the government does not,” Siddhartha said.
Following the FIR, Delhi Governor Anil Baijal cancelled a function regarding felicitation of the children by the ICCW which was scheduled on January 18.
“We were given no reason for cancelling the event. Nobody informed us properly that the event was getting cancelled,” Siddhartha stated.