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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

Kejriwal govt plans to do away with MLA fund

Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 03, 2014
First Published: 07:38 IST(3/2/2014) | Last Updated: 12:59 IST(3/2/2014)

The Kejriwal government plans to do away with the scheme that entitles every MLA to Rs. 4 crore a year for development work and instead give people a say in the development of their area.

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In keeping with its poll promise, the Aam Aadmi Party government is likely to discontinue the MLA local area development (MLALAD) scheme when the finance bill is taken up.

Along with the much-awaited janlokpal bill, the government also plans to bring in the Swaraj (self-rule) bill, 2014, when Delhi assembly meets from February 13 to February 16.

Read: AAP to table Nagara Swaraj Bill this session 

The bill — a copy of the draft is with HT — empowers the citizens by setting up mohalla sabhas across the city.

These sabhas will directly receive funds from the government, and will use them according to the needs and wants of the mohalla, or the locality. Once these are in place, officials said, MLA fund would become redundant.

According to sources, there have been complaints of misuse of MLA funds as a number of legislators spent the money on ornate gates and fancy streetlights.

The Delhi Nagar Swaraj Bill, 2014, says basic works such as upkeep of roads, repair and maintenance of drains, footpaths and parks would be undertaken through mohalla sabhas for which elections would be held every five years by the state election commission.

Apart from empowering citizens, the bill also seeks to cut through the red tape, as each local body/department will have a group of employees providing services to each ward to meet the needs of a mohalla sabha.

For instance, the city has 272 municipal wards apart from the area under the New Delhi Municipal Council. Under the mohalla sabha, each ward will be divided into eight to 12 mohallas, each of which will be represented by a two-member committee. The members are expected to go to locals before coming to a decision.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi was trifurcated so that civic works could be carried out efficiently. Mohalla sabhas are expected to ensure a quick response to problems such as defunct streetlights and potholed roads that often go unattended for long but are a major irritant.

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