New Delhi: Almost 90 per cent condom vending machines installed at public places by National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) for HIV/AIDS prevention have gone missing, a CAG report has said.
In its report tabled in Parliament on Friday, the CAG has rapped NACO for failing to achieve the objective of improving the accessibility of condoms in high-risk areas due to poor planning and implementation. The CAG report said the CVMs scheme "was characterised by poor planning and implementation and Ministry of Health did not undertake any feasibility study for it considering sale of condoms was very low as compared to projections by NACO."
It pointed out that in Phase I of the project, 11,025 CVMs were installed in high-risk areas of which 9,860 machines were not traceable or were lost. The audit found only 1,130 machines traceable but were not functioning. "
As the CVMs installed under Phase I were not insured against theft and damage, thus no recovery/claim could be made in respect of stolen machines," the CAG report said.
Similarly in Phase II of the project, 1546 machines were damaged, 161 stolen and 1791 could not be installed, the CAG said pointing out that Hindustan Latex was given the work of installation of CVMs by September 2005 for phase 1 and July 2008 for Phase II.
"The sale of condoms through CVMs was very low in comparison to projects of NACO. The intended objective of improving the accessibility of condoms in high risk areas through CVMs was not achieved despite investment of Rs 21.54 crore under the scheme. "The hasty manner of release of funds by the Ministry under Phase II without ascertaining the status of CVMs installed earlier was inappropriate," CAG said.
The CAG further pointed out that sale of condoms remained poor throughout the programme. "NACO had estimated an average sale of 6, 12 and 35 pieces of condoms per day from each Low Traffic Dispensing Outlet, Medium Traffic Dispensing Outlet and High Traffic Dispensing Outlet respectively in the first year.
"It was however found that 16 million pieces of condoms at an average of 1.34 pieces per machines per day were dispensed through 11025 CVMs of Phase 1 during 36 months till January 2009," the CAG said in its report.
In Phase II, the average off-take of condoms between 2008 and 2011 was as low as 0.42 condoms per machine per day much less than NACO s projections. CAG said NACO finally decided to discontinue the project by the end of 2011 due to operational difficulties. Stating that no feasibility study on condom sale was undertaken by the Ministry of Health, CAG said a NACO report claimed the sale of 13.33 million condoms through CVMs between January and August 2006. "
Audit noted that this worked out to only 4.98 condoms per machine per day as against the minimum targeted sale of six condoms per day as projected by NACO," CAG report says.
The normal lifespan of a CVM was three years extendable up to seven years with timely maintenance. During the first phase the warranty on machines expired in January 2009. Subsequently, due to absence of annual maintenance contract with the suppliers the machines could not be serviced. The CAG said that machines installed in Phase II were maintained till June 2011 within the cost of Rs 10 crore and the project was extended up to March 2011 at an extra cost of Rs 90 lakh.
A contract to this effect was signed with Hindustan Latex and the project was further extended up to September 2011 at an additional cost of Rs 60 lakh.