Dear Editor,
Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) Fund, non-lapsable in nature, is given to the MPs to spend the amount for the development of their constituency by executing developmental works of capital nature for creation of durable assets to meet the local needs. Reports of misutilization of the MPLAD amount have been surfacing at regular intervals. But no serious note of it has been taken to curb it. Utilization of this amount to improve the prospects of electoral gains for the party is the betrayal of trust. People of the constituency irrespective of the caste or religion they belong to, are betrayed by denial of the need-based development of the area. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has alleged that the amount sanctioned for Raebareli has been spent on the minorities. The veracity of the truth must be unearthed. Shah has claimed that he has been in possession of the details. If so, it should not be held in wrap. If the allegation levelled by Shah is true, the amount that has been misutilized has to be deducted in the next instalment of MPLAD amount to be sanctioned. Otherwise the amount so spent by the MP has to be recovered from the pay of the MPs concerned. Necessary amendment has to be made in the Constitution to empower the government to recover the amount from the erring MPs. MPLAD scheme was introduced by the Government of India on 23 December 1993. In the MPLAD scheme each MP is allocated Rs. 5 crore per year and it is being released in 2 equal instalments to the MPs. Since 2011-12 the amount has been raised Rs. 5 crore from Rs. 5 lakh in 1993-94 and Rs. 2 crore from 1998-99. The amount not released in any year is carried forward to the next year. With every MP getting Rs. 5 crore every year, in the term of five years, a sum of Rs. 25 crore is given to each of the MPs to improve their areas. A. Suryaprakash, perspective Parliament watcher and author of “What ails Indian Parliament (1995)” is said to have thrown light on the gross violation of guidelines of the scheme by many members. Many MPs are keen to invest these funds in private trusts and societies created by themselves. They are seen to have recommended for the projects that are prohibited. The Comptroller and Auditor General has reportedly examined this scheme but the auditors and surveyors have expressed concern over the lack of supervision at the district level and gross violation of guidelines by MPs.
Report says that the surveyors have not been able to trace “the Assets” allegedly created under this scheme. Community halls have been allegedly created in the vicinity of religious places. Computers bought for schools have been allegedly diverted for commercial purposes. MPLAD Fund has become boon for the MPs to utilize the amount for promoting their political and personal interests. Tax payers’ money is being squandered away. As per a report, there is a case of an advance amount of Rs. 8 lakh collected for installing solar pumps by a company in Jharkhand and later the company is said to have vanished. Officials of the National Rural Employment Programme have reportedly duped the government by claiming MPLAD funds for roads already constructed.
There are innumerable instances of defalcation of funds. Unless each of the cases is strictly audited, the misutilization of funds continues making big hole on the pocket of public exchequer. Tejaswi Surya has reportedly emerged as the top performer among the Bengaluru MPs. If every MP sincerely and honestly utilizes the amount to the development of their constituencies, the face of India can be changed for still better.

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