Scam-ridden MPLAD funds may see hike

New proposal seeks enhancing allocation from Rs 2 cr to Rs 5 cr
Last Updated : 30 July 2009, 19:59 IST
Last Updated : 30 July 2009, 19:59 IST

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The voices against the scheme have been raised by Leader of the Opposition L K Advani, former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee and Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) Chairman and Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily, with Chatterjee even calling it “a waste of money.”

The ARC had taken strong exception to the scheme, saying it changes the role of an MP from being a supervisor as a legislator to an executive, and that it goes against the basic tenets of “separation of powers.”

When asked whether he still held the same view on the scheme, Moily skirted the query but maintained he had made recommendations against the scheme as ARC chairman.

BJP’s stand

Advani’s criticism of MPLADS notwithstanding, the BJP MPs are pitching for the continuation of the scheme. “The utility of MPLADS depends on how the MPs use the scheme judiciously. If seven or eight MPs out of the 800 members are faulted in the implementation, the scheme itself does not become bad. By way of MPLADS, the MPs become part of the planning process, and they take care of the small local developmental needs,” explained Prakash Javadekar, BJP national spokesman  and Rajya Sabha member.

Quizzed on Advani’s view on scrapping MPLADS, Javadekar said: “Well, he said this was one of the options if violation or rules was found.”

As many as 11 MPs were expelled by a House committee on December 23, 2005 in connection with a cash-for-query scam, which came to the fore under a sting operation. Some MPs were shown allegedly haggling for commissions on projects to be implemented with the MPLADS fund.

Only two audits of the scheme have been done since its start by the P V Narsimha Rao government in 1993, “increasing the stakes” of an MP in completing the full Lok Sabha term.

The MPs of all hues, including those from the Rajya Sabha, have now been increasingly demanding an enhancement of the fund allocation for MPLADS. Naveen Jindal (Congress), Anna Patel (BJP) and Saroj Toofani (SP) have separately spoken in the Lok Sabha for the necessity of the scheme which, they said, helped the MPs to build small development projects in their respective constituencies.

Toofani even wanted the MPLADS money to be increased to Rs 10 crore for each MP “by reducing the plan allocation” made to the state governments.

The MPLAD scheme entitles each MP to suggest to the district collector works to the tune of Rs 2 crore each year to be taken up in his or her constituency.

A Rajya Sabha MP can recommend works in one or more districts in the state from where he or she has been elected. The nominated members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha may select one or more districts from any State in the country for the implementation of work under the scheme.

DH News Service

Published 30 July 2009, 19:59 IST

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