Issues Related to MPLAD Scheme
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh who heads the standing committee on MPLADS has written to members seeking their suggestions on how to address various problems plaguing the MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), as pointed out by numerous reports both by Parliamentary Committees and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
- A 1998 report by CAG has pointed to several instances of mismanagement, misuse of funds and lack of proper accounting of the scheme. The CAG had flagged similar issues in its second report.
- The programme evaluation report of the erstwhile Planning Commission in 2008 had identified issues such as improper maintenance of records, inflated reporting of expenditure, percentage utilisation of the fund being lower than officially reported and the poor maintenance of assets created.
- The Second Administrative Reforms Commission had observed that “Discretionary funds at the disposal of legislators or the power to determine specific projects and schemes or select beneficiaries or authorise expenditure shall constitute a discharge of executive functions and may invite disqualification.” But the Supreme Court held the MPLADS scheme constitutionally valid in its May 6, 2010 judgement.
- The Central Information Commission had ordered in 2018 to provide guidelines of the scheme. The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation which is the nodal ministry is reportedly thinking of approaching the Court against the CIC’s order. The deputy chairman has urged the issue to be considered dispassionately more on merit and not purely on technical grounds.
- In 2012 Public Accounts Committee had noted large gaps between the funds available to district authorities and the actual expenditure on the scheme.
The deputy chairman has urged the parliamentarians to reflect on the fact that huge amount of public money is being held up without being spent properly on the works under this scheme, which otherwise could have been put to public use.
The MPLADS scheme was launched in 1993. The scheme is administered by the Ministry for Statistics and Programme Implementation. The scheme provides an opportunity for each MP to suggest to the District Collector for works to the tune of Rs.5 Crores per annum to be taken up in his/her constituency.
The MPs were entitled to recommend works to the tune of Rs 1 crore annually between 1994-95 and 1997-98 after which the annual entitlement was enhanced to Rs 2 crore which was further enhanced to Rs 5 crore in 2011-12.
The Rajya Sabha MPs can recommend works in one or more districts in the State from where he/she has been elected and the Nominated Members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha may select any one or more Districts from any one State in the Country for implementation of their choice of work under the scheme.