MPs to have more flexibility in using funds | delhi | Hindustan Times
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MPs to have more flexibility in using funds

The Members of Parliament will be able to spend more money from their local area development fund for betterment of the deprived, for buying ambulance for villages and help NGOs and trusts in building assets for public good.

delhi Updated: Dec 01, 2010 01:09 IST
Chetan Chauhan

The Members of Parliament will be able to spend more money from their local area development fund for betterment of the deprived, for buying ambulance for villages and help NGOs and trusts in building assets for public good.

In the sweeping changes finalised in MP's Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has also recommended possible convergence of Centre's flagship programmes such as Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) with the scheme.

"The state governments have approved the suggested changes," Programme implementation minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told HT.

"We will seek views of the MPs before notifying the changes aimed at plugging the loopholes and improving utilisation of funds".

The changes provide flexibility to MPs in utilisation of the funds, which the government has refused to increase from Rs 2 crore per annum to Rs5 crore.

"There will be some relief to MPs who have been seeking a hike (in the fund)," an official, who was not willing to be quoted, said.

The revised guidelines will allow MPs to spend money in proportion of the scheduled caste or tribe population in their constituency with a ceiling of R50 lakh per annum. As of now, MPs can spend 15 % of their fund in SC and 7.5 % in ST habitats, irrespective of their numbers in the constituency.

The new guidelines also seek to stipulate minimum fund for SC or ST population, where they are less than 5% of the total population, to ensure that the deprived are not ignored for political considerations.

The ministry has proposed to double the amount from existing R25 lakh but had imposed additional conditions to prevent its misuse.

"The money can be given to only those bodies who are the original owners of the land where the asset is to be created and it has to be provided for community service," a ministry official said.

In case of movable assets, the MPs will be able to sanction funds to buy and operate ambulances or hearse vans, which can be run by NGOs.

For transparency in the scheme implementation, every work sanctioned, will have to be displayed at district administration office.

In addition, third party inspection by bodies appointed by the state or the Centre will be a mandatory requirement before release of the final payment to the contractor.