‘18 MPs have utilised only 55.2 per cent of their allocation'
There is a strange relation between the educational qualification of an MP and the utilisation of funds under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) in the State.
The lower the educational qualification of the lawmaker, the better the utilisation of funds, says a study by Public Affairs Centre, a non-governmental organisation working on governance issues.
Five MPs who are PUC pass spent 65.2 per cent of funds allocated to them, while 18 MPs who are graduates or have higher qualifications have utilised only 55.2 per cent.
The study undertaken by A. Venugopala Reddy, K. Prabhakar and Patibandla Srikant compares utilisation of funds under MPLADS by MPs in Karnataka between 2004 and 2009 and between 2009 and 2011.
Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members are allocated Rs. 2 crore each a year for the development of their constituencies. The allocation has now been increased to Rs. 5 crore.
The study questions the rationale of raising the allocation when the utilisation of the current allocation is around 50 per cent .
According to the data available on MPLADS website, total allocation under the scheme for 2004-09 was Rs. 8,000 crore, of which Karnataka's share was Rs. 400 crore.
Lok Sabha members in the State were allocated Rs. 280 crore (5 per cent of the national allocation of Rs. 5,450 crore), while the Rajya Sabha members were allocated Rs. 120 crore (4.8 percent of the national allocation of Rs. 2,500 crore).
During 2004-09, Lok Sabha members in Karnataka utilised 57 per cent of funds, while their counterparts in the Rajya Sabha used only 30.4 per cent, the study found.
“Rajya Sabha members, being nominated by their parties, have no connect with their constituencies,” the study says.
Only H.D. Deve Gowda and G. Mallikarjunappa utilised 100 per cent of funds, while 10 of the 13 Rajya Sabha members from the State used less than 50 per cent.
MPs from south Karnataka used a larger percentage of funds (63 per cent) than their counterparts from north Karnataka (47 percent) which is supposed to be a backward region, the study says.
The study found that two MPs from the Janata Dal (Secular) used 70 per cent of funds, 14 MPs from the Bharatiya Janata Party used 56 per cent and nine Congress MPs used 52 per cent.
During 2009-11, Lok Sabha members from Karnataka used only 47 per cent of funds with even Mr. Gowda's utilisation falling to 53.5 per cent.
Three MPs from BJP — Pralhad Joshi, D.B. Chandre Gowda and Ananth Kumar Dattatreya Hegde — utilised 100 per cent of funds. Mr. Joshi utilised only 17.95 per cent of funds in the previous term.
Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda spent 83.4 per cent of funds between 2009 and 2011, while Rajya Sabha member Vijay Mallya did not utilise any of the funds in that period. His utilisation during the 2004-09 term was 8.5 per cent.
The study found that setting up community halls was the top priority of MPs, followed by construction of roads. Drinking water, drainage and bus shelters occupied the next three spots, though with slight variations in priority.
Sanitation, streetlights and irrigation occupied the bottom spots, with health being the lowest priority.