MPLAD: Scrap it

Recently the issue of MPLAD (MPs and MLAs Local Area Development Scheme) has been in news again.This scheme was initailly started by the then Prime Minister Mr PV Narsimha Rao and each MP was sanctioned one crore rupees annually to spend on the development of his/her area. This lucrative scheme -with no accountability- was liked by all MPs and if I am correct, the current tag is 2 crore rupees annually. This is a huge money, particularly when you multiply this by 5 and that this money is largely unaccountable. One reader in The Tribune- while appealing for scrappimg this fund- has raised a very valid point that the scheme also circumvents the spirit of the panchayati raj institutions (PRIs). The letter is reproduced below.

The editorial “Scrap MPLADS” (Feb 19) rightly suggests Parliament to wind up the MPs’ Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) as recommended by the Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Mr M. Veerappa Moily in its latest report, Ethics in Governance. This scheme has remained mired in controversy since its inception and the malaise has spread to municipal corporations across the country, involving a whopping Rs 15,000 crore.
Several other committees had also called for the abolition of the scheme. One cannot lose sight of the corrupt practices in this scheme in a string operation. The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has also upheld Parliament’s right to disqualify members who were caught accepting bribes in the sting operation.
Unspent money under this scheme by MPs and MLAs and favouritism in sanctioning the funds are the other maladies. Examples galore, some MPs have diverted the entire fund meant for eight or nine Assembly segments to just one or two for political mileage.
The scheme also circumvents the spirit of the panchayati raj institutions (PRIs). To make use of the taxpayers’ money judiciously, the scheme needs to be scrapped. Let the crores of rupees allocated under this scheme be saved and utilised for actual development.

S.K. KHOSLA, Chandigarh

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