Every year, MPs are allotted Rs. 5 crore under the MPLAD (Member of Parliament Local Area Development) Scheme, primarily to take up development projects in their respective constituencies. The fund has been increased over time, starting from Rs. 5 lakh in 1993-94 to Rs. 5 crore at present.
As per the data provided by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), only 5.4% of the total fund has been utilised for the Financial Year 2014-15. What does this mean?
How does the MPLADS work?
There are three major stakeholders in the entire process: the MP, district authority and the Government of India. MPs recommend works to be undertaken under the MPLADS, based on locally felt needs; with preference to certain sectors, including drinking water facility, education, health, sanitation, irrigation, roads etc. Following the recommendation, the district authority is responsible for sanctioning the eligible works, and implementation of the sanctioned ones. As per official guidelines, the district authority shall make the selection of an implementing agency for execution of the recommended works by an MP. The Government of India releases the annual entitlement of Rs. 5 crore in two equal instalments of Rs 2.5 crore each, directly to the district authority.
The data shows that not a single rupee was spent in 278 constituencies (51 per cent) in 2014-15. Of these, 223 MPs did not recommend any amount. Considering that MPs have a recommendatory role in the scheme, it is surprising to see that 41 per cent of them haven’t even recommended any amount for their constituency. In the remaining 55 constituencies, the MP recommended works but no money was spent by the district authority. In all, the average amount of recommendations made was worth Rs. 2.16 crore, while the average expenditure incurred was mere Rs. 57 lakh.
However, it must be noted that the funds for a particular year can be carried forward for utilisation in subsequent years. Some development projects might cost more than the allocated amount of Rs. 5 crore, which might be one reason for low utilisation of MPLADS funds for the first year in some constituencies.
Among states, MPs of Kerala have the best numbers on the recommendation front, with projects worth Rs. 7.3 crore recommended on average. (The amount might exceed Rs. 5 crore as Financial Year 2015-16 has begun.) However, the actual amount spent in these Kerala MPs’ constituencies is just Rs. 47 lakh, which is below the national average.
Overall, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are the best performing States. Both have average recommendations worth Rs. 3.5 crore, and are the only two big States having spent more than Rs. 1 crore per constituency on projects. On the other hand, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan and Assam, on average, don’t even cross the Rs. 1 crore-mark for project recommendations, let aside the execution.
Among the major political parties (having more than 10 members in Parliament), MPs of All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) outperform others, as visible from the graph below. It is interesting to see that TMC and AIADMK are in majority in their States — West Bengal and Tamil Nadu respectively. This however, is not true in general. For instance, Biju Janta Dal (BJD) enjoys the same privilege in Odisha. But the average expenditure of the State’s MPs, the majority of whom belong to the BJD, lies way below the national average.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has below average numbers, with recommendations worth only Rs. 1.47 crore and expenditures worth Rs. 41 lakh per MP. Congress MPs fare better — with Rs. 2.86 crore and Rs. 67 lakh on recommendation and expenditure respectively.
It is too early to judge the performance of an MP by utilisation of the fund. A comparison would make sense as the 16th Lok Sabha ends, for in the past, MPLADS fund has been used well. From its inception in 1993 till 2009, over 98% of the total entitled fund had been put into use while from 2009-13, 88% fund was utilised.
Check the status of MPLAD fund (till 1st June 2015) in your constituency here: