The Union Cabinet on Wednesday restored the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme for the remainder of the current financial year and up to 2025-26, co-terminus with the period of the 15th Finance Commission. Under the scheme, an MP will get Rs 5 crore a year, in two tranches, to sanction various works in his area. However, only Rs two crore will be sanctioned for the remaining five months of the current year; but thereafter, it will be Rs 5 crore a year for the next four years. Restoration of the scheme will cost Rs 17,417 crore till 2025-26. In the current financial year, the exchequer's burden will be Rs 1583.50 cr.
The scheme was suspended last year when the government slashed many programmes to find maximum funds for fighting the Coronavirus pandemic. There was a hue and cry in Parliament in the last monsoon session with both opposition and ruling MPs demanding restoration of the scheme that empowers them to help out locals with creation of durable community assets.
For managing the health and adverse impacts of Covid 19 in the society, the Cabinet, in its meeting held on 6th April 2020, had decided not to operate MPLADS during the FY 2020-21 and 2021-22 and place the fund at the disposal of Ministry of Finance for managing the impact of the pandemic.
The scheme was introduced in 1993 when an MP could sanction schemes and works of Rs 5 lakh a year; though a paltry amount, it enabled the MPs to decide on funds for small works, instead of looking at the government for sanction of money. The amount was increased to Rs 2 crore a year in 1998 and to the present Rs 5 crore a year, in operation since 2011. Many states also have similar schemes for MLAs.
It involves the MP recommending works and the district collector implementing them. The government has said it will restart fulfilling the aspirations and developmental requirements of the local community, which is the primary objective for which the MPLADS was formulated.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)