MPs want more fund for model villages

Each parliamentarians get Rs 5 cr under MPLADS

MPs want more fund for model villages

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of MPs nurturing “model villages” in their constituencies could hit a road block due to a common complaint – lack of adequate funds.

A large number of MPs have expressed reservation on the use of MPLADS funds for the Sansad Aadarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) contending that the amount is not enough for carrying out development projects across the constituency.

Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on “lack of funding” for SAGY during his visit to his constituency Amethi last week triggered a torrent of similar views from Congress parliamentarians.

Trinamool leader Saugata Roy said MPs of his party have not joined any initiative launched by Modi for lack of funds. “The priority under SAGY is limited to ensure implementation of centrally-sponsored schemes. There is no separate fund allocation for SAGY,” Sushmita Dev, Congress member of Lok Sabha from Silchar, Assam said.

Each parliamentarian gets Rs five crore annually under the Local Area Development Scheme and Modi has pitched for use of these funds to develop a village in every constituency as a “model village” as part of his thrust on developing rural India.

Noted educationist Bhalchandra Mungekar, a Rajya Sabha member of the Congress, told Deccan Herald that he had suggested to the previous Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to scrap MPLADS altogether contending that it was a “hotbed of corruption”.

On the other hand, members of the Left parties want the funds under the scheme to be enhanced significantly. Lok Sabha member M B Rajesh of the CPM cited the Kerala model wherein every MLA gets Rs 6 crore every year – Rs 1 crore as MLA fund and Rs 5 crore as constituency asset development fund.

Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Munisamy Thambidurai, who also chairs the Parliamentary Committee on MPLADS, said he has received numerous suggestions from a cross-section of MPs on changes to the scheme. “While some MPs want the scheme to be scrapped, others want the funds to be increased significantly,” Thambidurai told Deccan Herald. He said a meeting of all the MPs would be convened this week to seek views on MPLADS.

Mungekar, a former member of the Planning Commission, suggested that the Centre should take up one activity – such as building toilets in schools or digging ponds – and ask every MP to ensure its implementation. He said picking up one village for development would mean doing injustice to hundreds of other villages in the constituency.

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