The term of the 15th Lok Sabha will end in less than a year, but at least 163 MPs have spent much less than their quota of funds allocated under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), according to records available with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation
Several well-known politicians -- including BJP leaders Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, Maneka Gandhi and Rajnath Singh, Union ministers V Narayanswamy, Sriprakash Jaiswal and Harish Rawat, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav - feature on this list.
The worst performers are J Shantha of the BJP, who represents Bellari (SC) constituency in Karnataka. He has spent only 23.78% of the total funds allotted. Ramesh Kumar of the Congress, who represents South Delhi, and Rajiv Ranjan (Lalan) Singh of the Janata Dal (United), follow in second and third places, respectively, having spent only 27.29% and 28.53% of the funds, the ministry's data shows.
Given that the 15th Lok Sabha is in the last year of its term, MPs should have spent about 75% of their total quota, which was Rs. 2 crore per year during the first two years of this Lok Sabha. This was raised to Rs. 5 crore per year in 2011. Thus, MPs could recommend Rs. 19 crore (Rs 2 crore x 2 + Rs. 5 crore x 3) worth of development work during the term of the current Lok Sabha.
During every financial year, each MP has to recommend development works up to the annual entitlement to the concerned district authority. The district authority then sanctions and executes the eligible projects.
Most MPs blamed the district authorities for delays in sanctioning and completing development work. "I have recommended works of about Rs. 17 crore but the district authorities have not completed the work. There is also a chance that they might not have updated the records. That's why the figure (of the amount spent from his quota) is so low," said Narayanswamy, who, according to official records, has spent only 38% of his MPLADS quota.
"I can only recommend work. The district authorities are responsible for implementation and if they are not spending the money and not updating the records, what can I do?" said Hussain, adding that he had raised the issue in the MPLADS committee of which he is a member.
Sharad Yadav said that his utilisation is perfect. "I am telling you that I have utilised the funds properly. I am not much bothered with the list of the ministry," he told HT.
Maneka Gandhi's spokesperson Satish Yadav, too, blamed the district authorities for not doing the recommended works on time. "Madam has done remarkable work under MPLADS - like making 196 shamshaan ghaats, etc. However, some of the work is stuck due to delays by district authorities," Yadav said.
Despite repeated attempts to reach Rajnath Singh, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Harish Rawat, and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, they were not available for comment.