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Opposition flays move to stop MPLADS, seeks clarity

New Delhi | Updated on April 09, 2020

The Opposition has criticised a recent circular from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation announcing the suspension of Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) funds. The Opposition said that the circular seemed to allow even funds for approved projects be stopped, and they warned the Centre of possible legal actions.

The MPLADS department of the Ministry issued the circular on Wednesday stating there will be no further release of instalments of MPLADS for 2020-21 and 2021-22 into the accounts of nodal district authorities. The projects under MPLAD scheme are cleared by the district administration of respective constituencies. Based on the proposal from the MP, the district collector gives administrative sanction for the projects.

The circular maintained that the projects which are sanctioned and awarded by the district administration will have to be completed “within the existing available funds”, as “no more funds will be released for these works” in the two financial years.

‘Smacks of arbitrarines’

Congress MP Manish Tewari said a five judge bench of the Supreme Court had held MPLAD scheme as constitutional. “Arbitrariness is writ large on this circular. This is done with an aim of crippling the MPs and promoting one leader and one nation. It is very clear that the government does not want MPs to discharge their duties and take care of their constituencies. They want to control everything. The Centre has just passed ₹30.42 lakh crore budget. There is no shortage of funds. If the Centre wanted a targeted funding for Covid-19, they have a surplus available of ₹2 lakh crore. Over ₹95,000 crore could be immediately made available by the central PSUs itself. This circular is to cripple democratic functioning and promote authoritarian rule,” Tewari said.

CPI(M) MP in Rajya Sabha KK Ragesh said the circular comes from someone who has no understanding of how projects are done on the ground. “It is not clear what will happen to the works which have already been commissioned. The Government is opening venues for a legal fight as people engaged in works will be denied money. Also, most of the MPLADS projects are connected to developing government hospitals, schools and anganwadis. How does this help in fighting Covid-19,” Ragesh asked.

Published on April 09, 2020

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