MPLADS funds for fight against Covid-19

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 25, 2020

Centre allows one-time use to purchase medical equipment for govt hospitals

To help contain Covid-19, the Government has permitted one-time use of funds from MPLADS (Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) for purchase of medical equipment to be used in government hospitals.

The MPLADS is a Plan Scheme fully funded by the Government of India. The annual MPLADS fund entitlement per MP (Member of Parliament) constituency is ₹5 crore. Lok Sabha Members can recommend works within their constituencies and elected Members of Rajya Sabha can recommend works within the State they are elected from. Nominated Members of both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha can recommend works anywhere in the country. As on date, there are 790 members.

Relaxing guidelines

According to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI), district authorities may utilise MPLADS fund for medical testing, screening and other facilities required to detect and contain Covid-19. “It has been decided to grant one-time dispensation under MPLADS for purchase/installation of various items by relaxing the guidelines, which allows purchase of medical equipment costing not less than ₹5lakh is permissible for Government Hospitals/Dispensaries,” a circular issued by MOSPI said.

Equipment include infra-red thermometers (non-contact) to facilitate doctors and medical personnel to remotely record and track a person’s temperature, personal protection equipment (PPE) kits for medical personnel to keep themselves well-protected and enable them to function efficiently by minimising the risk of transmission, thermal imaging scanners or cameras for railway stations, airports and other points of entry, which allow detecting of temperature from a safe distance, corona testing kits approved by the Health Ministry/ICMR and ICU ventilator and isolation/quarantine ward within approved facilities. Purchase of face masks, gloves and sanitisers for medical personnel can also be made using MPLADS funds.

Pricing, audit

The circular made it clear that purchase to be made at the price approved by the Health Ministry. There will be an audit too but only at appropriate time and also depending upon feasibility. Recurring expenditure on items purchased here will not be permissible. The Ministry has also said that it is one-time dispensation and will be restricted to the end of fiscal year 2020-21 starting April 1. “No expenditure, under any circumstances, shall be allowed to be made/roll over into next fiscal i.e. 2021-22,” the circular said.

Though many MPs have already contributed by way of their one-month salary, there was demand to include facilities for medical testing and screening under MPLADS in order to bolster the ongoing fight against the global Covid-19 pandemic. Some MPs have initiated sanction from MPLADS for this purpose, notable among them is Gautam Gambhir, MP from East Delhi.

Published on March 25, 2020

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