Figures released by the ministry of programme implementation, which handles the member of parliament local area development scheme (MPLADS), have revealed that a good part of the funds earmarked for the scheme will lapse this year.

About 25 to 35 per cent of the funds remain unspent in many states, especially the northern and western states, while the utilisation is slightly better in eastern and southern states. No MP has made use of the full quota in any state and it is doubtful that it will be utilised before the Lok Sabha’s term expires. But the bigger problem which the ministry’s figures do not reveal is that  much of the money that is spent under the scheme is misused, as most MPs consider it to be money to be spent on the basis of their personal discretion.

From 1993 when the then minority government of PV Narasimha Rao introduced the scheme with the obvious political intent of appeasing MPs and ensuring their support, it has invited adverse criticism. The entitlement of each MP has gone up from Rs 1 crore in the beginning to Rs 5 crore now and it costs the exchequer about Rs 4,000 crore at present. Though the funds are meant to be  utilised for infrastructure development in constituencies there is widespread misuse and corruption. Guidelines on implementation are hardly followed. Funds have been diverted for ineligible projects, they are sometimes transferred to private trusts controlled by MPs and execution is handed over to favoured agencies and contractors. There is no effective  mechanism to monitor the expenditure. When large public funds are involved there should be transparency and accountability in the expenditure but these have been lacking in the implementation of the scheme.

The Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) has scrutinised the scheme and has  made  unfavourable  comments on it many times. Some independent surveys have also come to the same conclusion. Though the government went through the motions of strengthening the guidelines it has not solved the problems connected with implementation. It is unlikely that there will be any improvement even if the guidelines are tightened further. The situation cannot be any better at the state level either. When a part of the funds lapse and the better part of the funds drawn under the scheme is misused, there is no good case for it to be kept alive. It cannot be reformed and should be scrapped.

Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi? Who will win the battle royale of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019

Get real-time news updates, views and analysis on Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on 

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram with #DHPoliticalTheatre for live updates on the Indian general elections 2019.

Liked the story?

  • 0

  • 0

  • 0

  • 0

  • 0