These lads are lax on MPLADS

Three Members of Parliament from Karnataka have not spent a rupee on projects relating to the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) for last two years.

The MPs who forgot that they have at their disposal Rs two crore a year to spend on development in their constituencies are JD(S) Karnataka unit president H D Kumaraswamy, and BJP members of the Lok Sabha, Nalin Kumar Kateel, and S Pakkirappa.

The MPLADS was introduced by the Centre in 1993 to help MPs take up minor projects in their constituencies. The funds are at the disposal of deputy commissioners.

An MP has to propose a plan or a project to the deputy commissioners. On completion of work by the implementing agency, the district authority submits an utilisation certificate for every work, to the Centre. Initially, the fund was Rs one crore a year per member of either of the two Houses of Parliament and was increased to Rs two crore a year in 1998-99.

The first installment of funds is released in the beginning of the financial year. A minimum of Rs 50 lakh of Rs one crore given in the first installment has to be spent to get the second installment. In addition, auditing of accounts is mandatory.

Members of Parliament are not as active in spending from MPLADS as they have been vocal in defending its existence, MPs from Karnataka more so.

In the last two years, 28 MPs of Karnataka have spent just 29.30 per cent of the total money they have received from the Centre. Official statistics as on November 30 indicate that under the MPLADS since 2009-10, the 28 MPs are entitled for a sum of Rs 112 crore.

The cumulative expenditure is Rs 21.97 crore. They might have spent more money but the utilisation certificates submitted to the respective deputy commissioners show that the unspent money is Rs 53.36 crore.

The credit of utilising the maximum funds goes to BJP’s D B Chandre Gowda of Bangalore North constituency. Of the Rs four crore he received over the last two years, he has already spent Rs 3.01 crore, 75 per cent of the available fund.

Bangalore MPs Ananth Kumar and P C Mohan, however, do not seem zealous about utilising the funds. While Kumar’s utilisation is 24 per cent, Mohan’s is 29.30 per cent.

Enquiries reveal that usually MPs are not keen on spending money, though they demand for it. Because, they have to give account for every rupee they spend. The progress report of the MPLADS is in public domain as it is hosted on a government website. As and when the funds are released and utilised, the chart is updated.

Compared to the Lok Sabha members, by and large, the 12 Rajya Sabha members from Karnataka have been more active in utilising the funds. The percentage of utilisation since 1993 is 91.16 per cent. Anil Lad, Oscar Fernandes and Venkaiah Naidu have spent not less than 95 per cent of the funds they are entitled to. The exceptions are those who have become members in recent months.

MLAs, MLCs are no different

Karnataka Legislators’ Local Area Development Scheme, which is almost similar to the MPLADS, has also not posted a good progress report when it comes to utilisation of funds. Every MLA and MLC is entitled for Rs 50 lakh under the MLA/MLC Lad Fund.

Enquiries at the Planning Department revealed that the funds available for 300 legislators during 2010-11 is Rs 200 crore, and the cumulative funds for 2009-10 was Rs 450.56 crore. But the progress report of the works and money spent is just trickling.

Neither the progress reports from the district authorities for 2010-11, nor for the previous year are available. Hardly nine districts –– Kodagu, Kolar, Hassan, Chikmagalur, Mandya, Bidar, Bijapur, Bellary and Tumkur district –– have sent the utilisation reports of funds for 2009-10. Repeated reminders to the DCs to send the report cards have failed to make much impact. Despite not complying with the norms for utilising the money, legislators bulldoze the party in power to release as much funds as possible. Eventually, financial discipline goes haywire, an officer said.

Now, the Planning Department has decided to follow the Centre’s method of hosting the progress report of MLAs and MLCs on a website. The National Informatics Centre has been asked to develop the website.

Comments (+)