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MPLADS: Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme

  • IASbaba
  • April 9, 2020
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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POLITY/WELFARE

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Separation of powers between various organs
  • Good Governance
  • Welfare/Developmental issues

MPLADS: Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme

Context: The Union Cabinet approved a 30% cut in the salaries of all Members of Parliament and a two-year suspension of MPLAD scheme so that the amount saved can go to the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI) to fight COVID-19.

What is MPLADS Scheme or Sansad Nidhi Yojana?

  • It is a central sector scheme for MPs to recommend works of developmental nature in their constituencies
  • It was launched in December, 1993
  • The emphasis is on creating durable community assets based on locally felt needs.
  • Parent Body: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) 
  • The funds – Rs. 5 crore/annum/MP – under the scheme are non-lapsable.
  • Funds are released in the form of grants in-aid directly to the district authorities.
  • MPs have only recommendatory role and the district authority is empowered to examine the eligibility of works, select the implementing agencies and monitor it.

Criticism of the scheme

  • Against the separation of powers: It allows individual legislators to encroach on executive role of planning & implementation works
  • Promotes Patronage Politics: MPLADS gives scope for MPs to utilise the funds as a source of patronage that they can dispense at will. 
  • Inefficiency: Gap between recommendation made by MPs and implementation by the district administration
  • Unused Funds: Some members do not utilise their full entitlement 
  • Weak monitoring of the scheme has led to allegations of misuse & corruption

Views about the scheme

  • Judiciary: The Supreme Court has upheld the scheme but called for a robust accountability regime
  • Second ARC: It recommended its abrogation altogether, highlighting the problems of the legislator stepping into the shoes of the executive

Why MPLADS was suspended for two years?

  • It frees up financial resources of about ₹7,900 crore
  • It will boost the funding available for the COVID-19 fight 
  • The funds can be spent on boosting the health infrastructure needed to combat the pandemic.
  • Judicious usage of Funds: Money will now go into CFI and will be spent based on an assessment of the varying needs in different regions of India.

Challenges ahead due the suspension of scheme

  • Political discontent: Funding under the scheme was source of much goodwill for elected representatives.
  • Centralising tendency: The step undermines the decentralised manner of funding local area development
  • There are dangers that allocations of freed up funds can be discriminatory.

Connecting the dots:

  • Parliamentary System – Merits and Challenges
  • Other instances where there is breach of Separation of Power

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