While seeking to increase the fund of the MP Local Area Development Fund (MPLAD) scheme to Rs five crore, a Parliamentary committee on Thursday called for a study to examine the scheme in "totality" and rectify the "pitfalls".
In a report tabled in Parliament, the standing committee said the 'horizontal' study was necessitated to examine all aspects of the scheme in wake of the recent unsavoury incidents related to the scheme reported in media and to strengthen the monitoring process.
"As such the actual benefits of the scheme realised, the deficiencies and the pitfall encountered in the implementation of the scheme and the corrective measures which could be taken for smooth implementation of the scheme has not been addressed by the committee so far," the report said.
The committee said comments from public, MPs and government implementing agencies should be invited so that the objective for which the scheme was conceptualised is achieved.
The need for such examination was also felt following adverse remarks about the scheme in a report of Comptroller and Auditor General, in a study conducted by former MP Era Sezhiyan and that by the Planning Commission.
Sezhiyan, in a study conducted by Institute of social science had said that the scheme runs contrary to Constitutional provisions, which envisage separate roles for the executive, and the legislative and therefore, it should be scrapped. Similar, suggestion was also made by the National Commission to Review Working of the Constitution.
The Planning Commission and CAG had pointed out at the 'mismanagement' of the scheme resulting in inflated reports of the amount spend. Evaluation teams of the commission failed to locate many of the assets claimed to have been created.
Admitting of the failures, the committee absolved the MPs of any wrong doing and instead shifted the entire blame to different government agencies and has sought reasons for the failure. "In opinion of the committee role of MPs was to identify and recommend projects to the district collector. Rest of the work is undertaken by the district collector," the report said.
But, then it also agreed to the suggestion of former Governor Bhanu Prakash Singh that each MP should get Rs five crore each year for his or her constituency. "This is to fulfill the basic requirements of the constituencies in a more effective manner," the report explained.
The committee also examined cases where the MPs sought relaxation of MPLAD scheme guidelines. Sadashivrao Mandlik, MP, wanted to disburse money from his fund to a trust run by his family members. The logic behind such public trusts is formed mainly due to the initiative taken by the MPs to provide useful services to people. The committee rejected the proposal.
Union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal's request to give money for War Memorial in Chandigarh was also rejected. Deputy Speaker Lok Sabha Charanjit Singh Atwal's desire to pay salaries to primary school teachers in Punjab did not find favour with the committee.