Lucknow Days after the Modi government’s decision to suspend the MPLAD funds for two years to pool money into PM Cares Fund to further India’s fight against coronavirus, the Yogi Adityanath government of Uttar Pradesh also suspended MLA funds of its legislators, albeit for a year.
“For the war against Coronavirus, the UP government has slashed the salary of all ministers and legislators by 30%. At the same time, MLA Fund has also been suspended for 2020-21,” stated the government in a press statement after cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Over the last three weeks, several legislators from all parties have donated part of their MLA fund (Rs 3 crore a year) to either CM relief fund for corona fight or had written to the districts to utilise the funds to purchase sanitisers, masks and personal protection gears (for healthcare professionals) for public and people working in essential services. Some legislators including the chief minister himself had pledged their MLA funds for Corona fight in April only.
None of the letters have been executed though, says Deepak Singh, Congress legislator who was the first to start this trend in March. He also accuses that the government has made several changes in the utilisation of MLA funds in last two weeks.
“First, it allowed donation of MLA funds in CM relief fund. Then he extended the limit of donation for health up to Rs25 lakh. Later, he thanked Mayawati for asking her MPs to donate Rs1 crore. Then he brought up CM Cares funds on the lines of PM Cares fund with no clarity how will this fund be utilised.”
Singh says, “Congress is not opposed to suspension of MLA funds, but we want a blueprint of its utilisation. Besides, the government should tell us how it will help patients suffering from other serious ailments. Many such patients are dying amid lockdown.”