Parveen Amanullah Social Welfare Minister of Bihar is the daughter of former Parliamentarian and Diplomat Syed Shahabuddin. An eminent RTI activist, Amanullah recently came to New Delhi on a personal visit. Amar Kumar Sharma from Jagran Post spoke to Praveen Amanullah about her vision in transforming Bihar into a developed state. In an open discussion, the Minister speaks about the radical changes brought in the state during the NDA tenure. Here are some excerpts from the interview:

Q: You are the first time MLA from Sahebpur Kamal Assembly constituency. After defeating RJD strongman Srinarayan Yadav by a margin of about 11,000 votes, you were inducted in the JD (U)-BJP alliance government led by Nitish Kumar. What is your next ambition?

Amanullah: I have been a RTI activist and want to do something more for the society. Nitish Kumar has reposed faith in me and given an important social welfare portfolio. It is a platform upon which I can work for people across Bihar.

Q: You are making a surprise visit to the Anganwadi centers across the state. What changes you have brought about in your Ministry?

Amanullah: For the first time in India, my government is going to bring social audit system in Anganwadi centers by empowering people at the very bottom level. The duties and functions of the people will be fixed.

Q: You are talking about decentralization of power to the panchayats as enshrined in the Panchayati Raj system?

Amanullah: Of course, power should be devolved to the very bottom of the society. Now, a 10 member committee in every panchayat will be formed to audit the functioning of these centers. They will be empowered with slapping fine on Anganwadi Workers and Helpers even recommending their removal, if they do not distribute the Take Home Ration (THR) properly to the children, pregnant and lactating women and adolescent.

We have to constitute the Warfoot team in the state to look into the welfare programme. The very idea has been borrowed from Karnataka.

Q: Apart from existing schemes, what other plans are in the pipeline?

Amanullah: Our government is going to provide jobs to the 1600 destitute in the state under the Ultra Poor Scheme (UPS). Three homes will be built in Patna, Darbhanga and Gaya for the mentally retarded persons. For this officers concerned have been asked for submitting Detailed Project Report (DPR).

Q: Your government is focusing on the Mahadalit barring Paswan community. Is it a Nitish-Ram Bilas rivalry?

Amanullah: (Laughing) it would be better to ask such question to the Chief Minister.

Q: Bihar is the second state after Madhya Pradesh to implement the Right to Service Act. But a loophole remains to be there. Oppositions are alleging that Nitish government is shielding the officials in the guise of provision of delivering the certificates in the maximum time of 21 days. Do you think a tatkal seva should be incorporated for speedy disposal in the existing provisions?

Amanullah: There is no minimum time limit to deliver the certificates to
the applicants. It is the lethargic attitude of the officials which leads to
delay in delivering the same.

Q: Child Development Project Officers (CDPOs) are demanding bribe from the Anganwadi Workers and Anganwadi Helpers. What are you doing for checking this menace?

Amanullah: I know, I Know, but no Anganwadi workers complain of asking bribe by CDPOs. We cannot act against without proof. They need to give affidavit against CDPOs. We will take action against them immediately.

JPN