The Maharashtra government on Thursday issued a government resolution on an increase in the legislators’ local development fund to Rs 4 crore from 2021-22. Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, who holds the finance and planning departments, had made an announcement in the annual budget to increase the fund by Rs 1 crore.
A total of 350 legislators, including 288 in the Legislative Assembly and 62 in the Legislative Council, will therefore get an additional fund of Rs 350 crore. In view of the increase, all legislators across the state will now get a total local development fund of Rs 1,400 crore every year.
The Planning Department deputy secretary, SH Dhuri said the local development fund is generally used for the construction of classrooms in schools, anganwadi centres, gyms, crematoriums, toilets and low head wires (Kolhapur Type) for irrigation purposes. From 2011-12, Rs 2 crore was annually made available for legislators’ local development fund. However, after taking into account the funds needed for maintenance and repairs, it was increased to Rs 3 crore from 2020-21.
During reply on budgetary demands, Pawar had assured that the fund will be increased to Rs 4 crore annually. Out of Rs 4 crore, 10 per cent will be earmarked for maintenance and repair works.
A statement issued by the deputy chief minister’s office said, “The country, along with the state, has been facing the coronavirus crisis for the past year-and-a-half. Against the backdrop, the Central government has frozen the development fund of MPs. Therefore, MPs do not have any funds available for local development works…” It further added that the rise in the fund will help pave way for speedy implementation of development works of the general public.