New Delhi: To monitor usage of funds by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that get government grants for facilitating cataract surgeries for the poor, the health ministry has made it mandatory for patients to furnish their Aadhaar cards for getting operated.
The ministry had doubts about the accurate number of patients being operated for cataracts under the national programme for control of blindness (NPCB). It took the decision during a review meeting last month.
“We are reviewing the NGOs that are getting grant in aid above Rs2 crore under NPCB programme. We have asked the concerned officials to prepare a list of such NGOs and review their work. The programme caters to the needy people and we have to ensure that it produces effective results. Further, with a view to avoid duplication of entries of beneficiaries i.e. patients in two records of treatment, Aadhaar number should be made essential for the cataract patients being operated free of cost," said Dr Jagdish Prasad, director general of health services (DGHS), ministry of health and family welfare.
“The objective of this practice is to ensure that the number of surgeries conducted is factually correct. Further, NGOs getting funds from other sources for the same activities should also be checked as they curtain this from the ministry," he said.
The government issues grants to the NGOs on the basis of cataract operations performed free of cost by the NGO and only after submission of cataract surgery records.
NPCB was launched in the year 1976 as a 100% centrally-sponsored scheme with the goal to reduce the prevalence of blindness from 1.4% to 0.3%. Cataract is the dominant cause of blindness as it accounts for nearly two-thirds of the blind population (62.6%).