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Most MPs in State have not spent the annual grant

Bangalore, May 10, 2012, DHNS : 0:48 IST

M in MPLADS stands for miser

A majority of Parliament members from Karnataka have been miserly in spending money allocated to them under the MPLADS (Member Of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) funds to ‘develop’ their constituencies, with one of them spending a mere 0.9 per cent of the grant.

Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda is in a small group that has spent 100 per cent of the grant. In contrast, his son and Bangalore Rural MP H D Kumaraswamy spent only seven per cent in the current term.

The dismal revelation arises from a survey conducted by an NGO, covering the period from 2004 to 2009. Data from MPLADS website (www.mplads.nic.in) formed the basis of the report.

The Public Affairs Centre (PAC) came out on Thursday with a report on the utilisation of the funds in the State. The report indicated that most of the MPs were reluctant in utilising the grant, Rs two crore a year per member, that enables them to add value to the civic amenities in their constituencies.

The office-bearers of the organisation said at a press conference here that the study was conducted only over 24 constituencies, as no data of Belgaum and Chikkodi were available on the website.

Venugopala Reddy of the centre said: “the average expenditure of Karnataka Lok Sabha members in the year 2004-09 was just 57 per cent.

The worst is that the Lok Sabha members from backward regions of North Karnataka could spend only 47 per cent of the funds, as against their southern counterparts who spent 63 per cent.”

Former prime minister and JD-S supremo H D Deve Gowda, and BJP MP from Davanagere, G M Siddeshwar, were among those who spent 100 per cent of their MPLADS, while the BJP MP from Chikkamagalur, D C Srikantappa, could spend only 14.1 per cent.

The BJP national general secretary and Bangalore South MP Ananth Kumar utilised only 24.3 per cent, while Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, who was then Mangalore MP, could spend only 40.9 per cent of the fund.

As for Rajya Sabha members, the data that emerged was shocking. Rajasekara Murthy of the JD(S) could not draw any lesson from his supremo (Deve Gowda), and spent only 0.9 per cent of the Rs two crore on public welfare. However, Congress Rajya Sabha member Prema Cariappa topped by utilising 84.7 per cent of the fund allocation.

Due to the 100 per cent utilisation of MPLADS funds by H D Deve Gowda, the JD(S) has topped among all the parties. Its percentage of expenditure in 2004-09 was 70, while the BJP stood next with 56 per cent and the Congress occupied the third place with 52 per cent.

The electorate of Karnataka may feel deprived at the non-expenditure of funds, but they need not feel bad. The average expenditure of their MPs is better than the national average.

In the current Lok Sabha, Prahlad Venkatesh Joshi, D B Chandre Gowda and Anant Kumar Hegde, all BJP MPs, spent 100 per cent of the fund whereas Congress MP Rangaswamy Dhruvanarayana from Chamarajnagar has so far spent only 1.3 per cent.

However, Siddheshwar of Davanagere failed to repeat his performance of 100 per cent expenditure. In the current term, he has spent a mere 2.6 per cent so far. From the Bangalore perspective, Bangalore North MP D B Chandre Gowda spent 100 per cent, Bangalore Central MP P C Mohan 28 per cent, Bangalore South MP Ananth Kumar 25 per cent and H D Kumaraswamy seven per cent.

The study revealed that most of the MPs were obsessed with constructing community halls, while laying roads was the next priority. Their third preference was constructing school buildings.

The centre’s founder, Samuel Paul, said: “We are not questioning their discretionary power or where they spent their money, but our objection is only to blocking the funds that could have helped development of rural areas.”

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