#GS2 #Schemes 

News : Earlier this month, the government suspended the Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) Scheme so that these funds would be available for its COVID-19 management efforts. 

What is the MPLAD Scheme? 

  • MPLAD is a central government scheme, under which MPs can recommend development programmes involving spending of Rs 5 crore every year in their respective constituencies.  
  • MPs from both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, including nominated ones, can do so. 
  • States have their version of this scheme with varying amounts per MLA.  
  • Delhi has the highest allocation under MLALAD; each MLA can recommend works for up to Rs 10 crore each year.  
  • In Punjab and Kerala, the amount is Rs 5 crore per MLA per year; in Assam, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Karnataka, it is Rs 2 crore. 
  • In Uttar Pradesh, it was recently increased from Rs 2 crore to Rs 3 crore. 

How does the scheme work? 

  • MPs and MLAs do not receive any money under these schemes.  
  • The government transfers it directly to the respective local authorities.  
  • The legislators can only recommend works in their constituencies based on a set of guidelines.  
  • For the MPLAD Scheme, the guidelines focus on the creation of durable community assets like roads, school buildings etc.  
  • Recommendations for non-durable assets can be made only under limited circumstances. 

When did the scheme start? 

  • Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao announced the scheme on December 23, 1993 in Lok Sabha.  
  • He mentioned that it was being started at the request of MPs across parties. 

How long are the schemes supposed to continue? 

  • The central scheme has continued uninterrupted for 27 years.  
  • It is budgeted through the government’s finances and continues as long as the government is agreeable.  
  • In 2018, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the scheme until the term of the 14th Finance Commission, that is March 31, 2020. 

Impact :  

  • Until 2017, nearly 19 lakh projects worth Rs 45,000 crore had been sanctioned under the MPLAD Scheme.  
  • Third-party evaluators appointed by the government reported that the creation of good quality assets had a “positive impact on the local economy, social fabric and feasible environment”.  
  • Further, 82% of the projects have been in rural areas and the remaining in urban/semi-urban areas. 

Criticisms :  

  • First, that it is inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution as it co-opts legislators into executive functioning. 
  • The second criticism stems from allegations of corruption associated with allocation of works. The Comptroller and Auditor General has on many occasions highlighted gaps in implementation. 

READ || More about MPLADS 

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