Parliamentarians and their funds
By Isaac Harold Gomes
Kolkata: Since 1993, every year, the Government of India has been allocating funds to Members of Parliament (MPs), under Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).
The objective of scheme is to enable MPs recommend works of development in their respective constituencies, based on locally felt needs. The emphasis is on the creation of durable and sustainable assets for the good of the community (e.g. drinking water, sanitation, education, roads, non-conventional renewable energy, rain water harvest, etc).
At present, this fund is 50million rupees annually. The funds for a particular year can be carried forward for utilisation in on-going projects in subsequent years.
There are 545 MPs in the Lok Sabha and 245 in the Rajya Sabha. This means 39.5 billion rupees is distributed annually among 790 MPs, under MPLAD.
Lok Sabha Members can recommend works within their constituencies. Elected Members of Rajya Sabha can recommend works in one or more district(s) within the state of election. Nominated members of both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha can recommend works anywhere in the country.
Once the Members of Parliament recommend projects for the betterment of the community, these works are executed by District Authorities (District Collector/District Magistrate/Deputy Commissioner/ Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer of Municipal Corporations) in accordance with the respective State Government’s financial, technical and administrative rules.
The Government of India releases the annual entitlement in two equal instalments, directly to the district authority.
MPs are to recommend every year, works costing at least 15 percent (7.5 million rupees) of the MPLADS annual entitlement for areas inhabited by Scheduled Caste and 7.5 percent (3.75 million) for areas inhabited by Scheduled Tribes population.
MPs can recommend projects under set project sectors. These are:
1. Drinking water facility – tube wells, hand pumps, water tankers, piped drinking water supply
2. Education – Buildings for Govt. aided/un-aided educational institutions, Computers for Govt. and Govt. aided educational Institutions, etc.
3. Electricity Projects for lighting of public streets and places
4. Health and Family Welfare – medical equipment, mobile dispensaries, ambulances, etc.
5. Irrigation Facilities
6. Non-Conventional Energy Sources for Community use
7. Other Public Facilities – Construction of community centres, common shelters for cyclones, floods and handicapped, public libraries, early warning systems for effective disaster mitigation.
8. Railways, Roads, Pathways and Bridges – Provision of Solar Lighting at Station/ Level Crossing Gate, amenities for physically challenged persons at Stations (ramps, separate toilets, etc.
9. Sanitation and Public Health
11. Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries
12. Agriculture – Construction of Farmers’ Assistance Centres and Soil Testing Laboratories
13. Cluster Development for Handloom Weavers
14. Urban Development.
All works will be for the general public/community at large and not for any individual. [Source: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI), Govt. of India, which sees to the administration of MPLADS].
For detailed list on Sectors and Scheme Codes, Funds Release & Management, Accounting Procedure, List of Works Prohibited under MPLADS, etc. please look up MPLADS Guidelines June 2016 and consult with your local MP.
As per the FY2014-2015 data, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are the best overall performers. Both have average recommendations worth 35 million rupees, and are the only two big States having spent more than 10million rupees per constituency on projects.
On the other hand, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan and Assam, don’t even cross the 10-millionmark for project recommendations, let aside the execution. (Source: Samarth Bansal, The Hindu, New Delhi Updated: September 01, 2016)
There have been reports that many MPs return the fund underutilized. If community leaders/members positively consult their MPs for priority-based and sustainable projects, they can work wonders and at the same time ensure full utilisation of the fund.
Isaac Harold Gomes could be reached at email@example.com)