Members of Parliament from Bihar may lose development projects under the local area development scheme, as the Centre government has not agreed to some conditions set by chief minister Nitish Kumar.
Kumar wrote to union statistics and programme implementation minister MS Gill in May, saying the state would not be able to implement the scheme unless the Centre provided the machinery for implementing the scheme, or set aside 6% of the fund as the cost of implementing the scheme.
But Gill said, “The central government cannot set up a public works department or a sanitation wing to implement the scheme… (it) is the responsibility of the state governments.”
Bihar is supposed to get Rs280 crore every year for its 56 MPs once the union cabinet decides to enhance the allotment for each MP from Rs2 crore to Rs5 crore.
A senior ministry official said, “Under the present circumstances, it will be difficult to implement the scheme in Bihar.” The MPs of Kumar’s party Janata Dal (United) are divided on the issue. Mangani Lal Mandal, MP from Jhanjharpur, termed the decision as illegal.
“If we accept Bihar government’s logic, then it should not implement any of the central government schemes,” Lal said Jagdish Sharma, MP from Jehanabad, however, welcomed the move and said the state's decision will provide MPs more time to do their job. “It will make no difference. It creates a lot of undue pressure on us,” he said.
Some party MPs, such as Shivanand Tiwari and Budheo Chowdhury, were hopeful that the state and Union governments would find a way out. “A central agency is being considered for carrying out the works,” Chowdhury said.
Kumar earlier disbanded the scheme for state legislators, rekindling the debate whether elected representatives should perform the functions of the executive. Left parties opposed the scheme on the same ground, saying the job of people's representatives is to deliberate on policy and frame laws.