₹299/- Online RTI Application -2021 for Information of Members of Parliament Local Area Development (MP LAD) and Member of Legislative Assembly LAD (MLA LAD) Scheme
Launch of scheme
In MPLAD scheme was launched in year 1993 by the Act of Parliament. It was the time when Shri PV Narsimha Rao was the Prime Minister of India and government was a Coalition government headed by Congress Party. Keeping coalition intact and government running was quite a difficult task and it is said that this scheme was launched to appease Members of Parliament. However, said motive of the scheme was that MPs have a dedicated amount authorised to them which they can use to carry out development work in their constituency. Development work could be construction/repairing of roads and streets, renovation of schools, installation of computers in schools etc. Initially amount allocated to each MP was ₹5 lakhs per year in 1993 which has increased to ₹5 crores per year now. Unutilised money in one year gets carried over to next year.
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It is not as if money goes directly into the hands of MPs, instead MPs recommend work in their area and its district administrations which sanction money for the project. But MPs have a lot of say in the entire project and ofcourse very often accusations of corruption are levied. It is alleged that MPs get a percentage of money disbursed to the companies that bag the contracts of development work.
Inclusion of MLAs in the scheme
Similar to MPs, MLAs too have Local Area Development funds available at their disposal for the development of the area. As the central government passed Act in 1993 for Members of Parliament, various state governments too passed their own Acts authorising MLAs to use the funds for development work. Amounts sanctioned under this scheme varies from state to state.
You will be amazed to know that Delhi government wishes its MLA should be given ₹10 crores each year for the local area development. This is twice of what an MP gets for constituency while the constituency of MP is 10 times of MLA’s constituency. Motive behind such move could be nefarious if such a big amount of money is being earmarked for a scheme which is already ridden with charges of corruption and wrong doings.
Flouting of norms
Most common flouting of norms is carrying out work which is not permitted under MP LAD scheme. Constructions in places of worship like Temples, churches, mosques is prohibited under this scheme. Construction of buildings for government offices, police stations, railway stations, bus stands is also not allowed but is carried out. MPs cannot choose companies or organisations which will carry out work but very often they are found doing the same. It is a common practice among MPs that they do not spend entire money each year, as sanctioned amount gets carried over, they accumulate money available till 5th year of their tenure. In last year of their tenure they spend in a big way so that voters get carried away by the ‘Development work’ done by Neta ji.
Examples of corruption
Smriti Irani had fought Lok Sabha elections from Amethi in 2014 against Rahul Gandhi and lost. Subsequently she was elected as Rajya Sabha member from Gujrat. As a Rajya Sabha MP she selected Anand locality to carry on development work with her MPLAD funds. Development projects were to be carried out by Gujarat State Rural Development Co-operation (GSRDCL) but somehow this did not work out and Sharda Majdoor Kamdar Sahkari Mandli was selected. There were allegations that MP herself selected project implementation agency in a violation of rules and then selecting group of her own party members is double violation and then there was disbursement of funds for no work done just shows the extent of corruption in system.
Other bungling includes - payment was not made once but twice for the same work. Organisation claimed and received money but no work was actually ever carried out. Over all more than 200 works were carried out in similar fashion by same organisation.
Apart from corruption, Right to Information Act (RTI) queries have revealed that there are several procedural lapses also involved with MPLAD scheme. Nearly ₹5000 crores amount available to MPs has not been approved during past 6 years. This is because of paper work which an MP is required to furnish is ususally not complete.
Use of RTI to get work done
Right to Information Act 2005 gives us the power to raise questions with elected representatives to tell the status of funds available and expenditure out of it. We can find what work has been carried out with those funds. We can see the work carried out on papers has also been carried out on the ground or not. We need to ensure that Neta ji does not accumulates funds till last year of his tenure to do miracle of development. Simultaneously, we can ensure that MPs or MLAs do not do favouritism on particular group of people including their relatives. There are several issues which remain pending despite multiple agencies for doing the work and slush funds available to Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative assemblies (MPLAD and MLALAD). Upkeep of roads and drains can be carried out by Public Works Department (PWD) or Municipal Corporation or MP or MLA but they remain in bad condition till the elections are nearby. Even in election year shoddy work is done which does not lasts long. So many people cannot afford to send their children to private schools and government schools lack good infrastructure. Classrooms are in bad conditions or children learn under open skies. Teachers are appointed but do not come to schools and draw their salaries sitting at homes. MPs and MLAs can spend money to bring them upto mark. Availability of government hospitals in India is low particularly in rural areas. If hospitals are available then they lack equipment for proper diagnosis and treatment of ailments. RTI applications can be filed to know expenditure from LAD funds for upkeep of equipment in hospitals.