End of road for MPLADs in Bihar
Members of Parliament may not be able to take development works like their colleagues in rest of the country as the Central government has not agreed to the conditions sought by state chief minister Nitish Kumar to implement the scheme.delhi Updated: Jun 28, 2011 20:57 IST
Members of Parliament may not be able to take development works like their colleagues in rest of the country as the Central government has not agreed to the conditions sought by state chief minister Nitish Kumar to implement the scheme.
The state will get Rs 280 crore every year for its 56 MPs once the union cabinet decides to enhance the fund from Rs two to five crore per Parliamentarian. There is Rs 251 crore unspent amount from the scheme for the state to utilise. Of the Rs 1,616 crore allocated to Bihar so far, the state has spent only Rs 1,391 crore.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had written to Union Statistics and Programme Implementation minister M S Gill in May this year saying that the state government will not be able to implement the scheme unless the Centre creates a dedicates implementation machinery or give 6% of the fund for implementing the scheme.
Gill, who has spoken to Kumar in this regard, said: “The Central government cannot set up a public works department or a sanitation wing to implement the scheme…implementing Central government schemes is responsibility of the state governments”.
The ministry is also not willing to provide six percent of the fund as administrative cost for its implementation saying the existing MPLAD guidelines allows only 0.5 %. "Under the present circumstances it will be difficult to implement the scheme in Bihar," a senior ministry official said.
Kumar had earlier disbanded the Local Area Development scheme for state legislators rekindling the debate whether elected representatives should perform functions of the executive to implement development projects or not. Left parties have opposed the MPLAD scheme on the same ground saying the job of MLAs and MPs is to deliberate on policy and frame laws.
The MPs of Kumar’s party Janata Dal (United), were divided on the issue.
Mangani Lal Mandal, MP from Jhanjharpur, termed the Bihar government’s decision as illegal saying that under the Constitutional framework the states have to implement the Central government schemes. “If we accept Bihar government’s logic then it should not implement any of the Central government schemes,” he said. Another party MP, who was not willing to be quoted, said ending the scheme will mean breaking the link between elected representatives and the people.
Jagdish Sharma, MP from Jahanabad, welcomed the move and said the state government’s decision will provide MPs more time to do their job, that is to deliberate on policy and laws in Parliament. “If the scheme is stopped it will make no difference. It creates a lot of undue pressure on us,” he said.
Some of the party MPs such as Shivanand Tiwari and Budheo Chowdhury were hopeful that the two governments – state and the central --- will find a way out. “A central agency is being considered for carrying out the works,” Chowdhury said, echoing sentiments of many party MPs .
Kumar, in his letter, had asked the Central Government to consider selecting the national executing agencies (NEAs), which are implementing the PMGSY for also implementing the MPLAD scheme.These NEAs, the Bihar chief minister mentioned, included IRCON International Ltd., National Projects Construction Corporation Ltd., National Building Construction Company (NBCC) and Central Public Works Department. “These agencies take only big projects and not small works normally sought by MPs under MPLAD,” a ministry official said.
Sensing a political opportunity, the Rashtriya Janata Dal accused the Bihar government of depriving the state of Rs 280 crore for the development works. RJD MP Uma Shankar Singh accused the state government of minimizing the role of MPs in governance and giving undue powers to the bureaucracy.