Govt. refuses demands to restore MPLADS funds- The Hindu -16-09-2020

The government’s decision to suspend MPLADS funds for two years has evoked mixed reactions.

Arguments in favour of MPLADS scheme:

Wrong notions:

The author argues that the notion that the very nature of the MPLADS scheme gives space for corruption is wrong and claims the lack of empirical data to back such claims.
The role of an MP in the MPLADS ends with selecting micro development projects for his constituency. Implementation of these projects is done by district-level officers under the vigilant eye of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
Furthermore, the Scheme undergoes an impartial and meticulous auditing. The second instalment of funds is released only when the first instalment is fully utilised with no audit objections. This procedure leaves no place for corruption.

Measure against pork barrel policy:

The pork barrel policy of State and Union Governments often leads to skewed development and regional imbalance.
Often, the ruling party channels public money to particular constituencies based on political considerations, at the expense of broader public interests and other constituencies.
The constituencies of the elected opposition legislators fall victim to pork barrel politics. MPLADS scheme has been an antidote to this kind of favouritism. The MPLADS Scheme provided opposition MPs a chance to cater to the developmental needs of their constituency. The suspension of the Scheme has snatched away this limited opportunity.

Developmental aspirations:

The responsibility of an MP does not end with the supervision of administration and legislation. He/she has to find solutions to the grievances of the electorate of his constituency and promote their developmental aspirations.
The scheme helped engage the MPs and helped cater to the aspirations of local people.
An MP knows the developmental and welfare issues of his constituency better than anyone else. The Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) has enabled MPs to play a leadership role in the developmental process of his constituency and sort out its day-to-day problems.

Aspirations of the marginalised:

Of the MPLADS corpus, 15% has been earmarked for the development of Scheduled Castes and 7.5% for the Scheduled Tribes. Around Rs. 20 lakh of the MPLADS fund per annum have been allotted for the welfare of differently-abled people. Suspension of the MPLADS undermines the developmental aspirations of these marginalised segments.

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