Centre’s youth reach-out scheme

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CS’s directions thrown to winds; PIA being probed by ACB for fraudulent drawal of funds allowed to resume training under Himayat Scheme

Srinagar, Mar 25: Despite J&K chief secretary Arun Kumar Mehta’s clear instructions to the authorities that the project implementing agencies (PIAs) engaged for training youth under the Government of India’s Himayat scheme shouldn’t have any case registered against them in the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), a Vishakhapatnam-based PIA whose role is under scanner of the prestigious anti-graft agency for fraudulent drawal of funds has resumed training at its centers in Kashmir, raising questions on the administration’s oft-repeated claims about zero tolerance on corruption.

In a meeting held in January this year, J&K Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta directed the authorities that PIAs which are not involved in any case in ACB should be engaged for training/placement of the identified youth.

“While directing the department to ensure that it does not engage such PIAs/TSAs as have failed to file reports with the Government or have not maintained proper accounts or don’t have their own websites and have failed to monitor/conduct regular inspections, the Chief Secretary said only those PIAs which have the required capacity to deliver on mandate and which have neither been blacklisted by GoI nor are involved in any case in ACB should be engaged for training/placement of the identified youth,” reads the handout issued by J&K Government after CS chaired the meeting.

Notwithstanding CS’s directive, Vishakapatnam-based PIA, Data Pro Computers, which is under scanner of ACB in a case registered on September 3, 2021, has resumed its training centers in Kashmir as per reports reaching news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO)

According to details available on ACB website, an FIR bearing number 08/2021 was registered against the PIA for fraudulent drawal of government funds meant for providing livelihood to unemployed youths under HIMAYAT scheme.

As per ACB, those under investigation in the case are officers/officials of Jammu and Kashmir State Rural Livelihood Mission (JKSRLM), DATA PRO Computers Pvt. Ltd, NABCONS (Consultancy Services) and others.

Sources told KNO that “Jammu and Kashmir Government” has now allowed Data Pro Computers to resume training at its centers in Kashmir despite their role being probed by ACB.

“We have been allowed by government to resume our non-residence program,” said Muhammad Ashraf, placement officer for DATA PRO Computers Pvt. Ltd.

When contacted, Deepika K. Sharma, chief operating officer, Himayat Scheme refused to comment on the matter, saying she is busy