The government on Friday said it plans to increase the money that the Members of Parliament spend in their constituencies to Rs. 5 crore per annum from existing Rs. 2 crore per annum.
“At present there are some fund constraints. The allocation of money under Members of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme would increase the moment these constraints go,” Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation Sriprakash Jaiswal told reporters.
“We have requested the Prime Minister to increase the funds allocation under MPLAD scheme,” Mr. Jaiswal said.
The Ministry has already written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to raise the funds under the MPLAD scheme.
The Planning Commission had strongly opposed increasing fund allocations under the scheme and saying that this would result limiting resources for other flagship schemes.
Admitting that there is misuse of funds and corruption in the scheme, Mr. Jaiswal said, “The latest NABCONS report says it is the best scheme. I don’t say that there is no corruption or misuse of funds under the scheme.”
NABARD Consultancy Services (Nabcons) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
An amount of Rs. 21,631.25 crore has been released under the scheme since its inception, of which Rs. 19,536.60 crore has been utilised till July 27 this year.
Regarding physical performance, the ministry informed that about 13.39 lakh works have been recommended, of which 11.89 lakh were sanctioned and about 10.88 lakh projects have been completed till July 27 last. The scheme was launched on December 23, 1993, by then Prime Minister P.V. Narshimha Rao.
About delay in Tsunami relief work, the minister said, “We will take this up with the States very seriously. Now we can not bear all these type of carelessness.”
Asked about the extension of deadline to complete Tsunami relief work, he said, “I cannot say, but I don’t think that there would be an extension of deadline to complete Tsunami relief work. We would finish it by September to October.”
“I am very much pained that States, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Union Territory Andaman & Nicobar Islands have still not completed their works in spite of repeated extension of deadlines”, he added.