New Delhi: The Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) is a Central Government Scheme. On December 23, 1993, then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao announced the MPLADS in Parliament.
Initially, the MPLAD Scheme was under the control of the Ministry of Rural Development. However, in October 1994, the scheme was transferred to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
The 1st Guidelines on MPLADS were issued in February 1994, covering the concept, implementation, and monitoring of the Scheme.
The Guidelines were subsequently revised in December 1994, February 1997, September 1999, April 2002, November 2005, August 2012, May 2014, and lastly in June 2016.
The June 2016 guidelines include instructions for implementation of the schemes announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan), conservation of water through rainwater harvesting and Sansad Aadarsh Gram Yojana etcetera.
According to the government, the fresh guidelines include recommendation of the Parliamentary committees on MPLADS, observations made by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, suggestions received from Members of Parliament & other stakeholders, and feedback received from the State Governments during Review Meetings
Recently, the Narendra Modi government took a decision to suspend MPLADS for two years (2020-21 & 2021-22) and announced that the entire fund of the suspension period (Rs 7,800 crore) will be diverted to the national pool to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
What is the main purpose of the MPLAD Scheme?
The main purpose of the MPLAD Scheme is to develop community assets in a parliamentary constituency.
The Members of Parliament (MPs) recommend works for the creation of durable community assets based on locally felt needs in their constituencies in the area of national priorities, like drinking water, education, public health, sanitation, roads, etc.
Who funds MPLAD Scheme? What is the annual limit of the scheme in a constituency?
The MPLAD Scheme is fully funded by the Government of India. In 1993-94, when the Scheme was launched, an amount of Rs. 5 lakh per Member of Parliament was allotted which became Rupees one crore per annum per MP constituency from 1994-95. This was stepped up to Rs. 2 crore from 1998-99 and now it is Rs.5 crore from the financial year 2011-12.
What is the role of the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, and Nominated MPs in the MPLAD Scheme?
A Member of Parliament gives his/her choice of Nodal District to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation with a copy to the State Government and to the District Magistrate of the chosen District.
If a Lok Sabha Constituency is spread over more than one District, the Member of Parliament can choose any one of the Districts as Nodal District in his/her constituency.
The Rajya Sabha MP can choose any District in his/her State of Election as Nodal District.
Nominated Members of both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha can choose any District in the country as Nodal District.
Who is responsible for the implementation of the MPLAD Scheme?
A Department in each State/UT is designated as the Nodal Department with the overall responsibility of supervision, monitoring, and coordination of the MPLADS implementation with the districts and other Line Departments. District Collector/District Magistrate/Deputy Commissioner will generally be the District Authority to implement MPLADS in the district.
The Government of India informs the State Nodal Department about the MPLADS funds released to the District Authorities. The District Authorities report the status of MPLADS implementation to the Government of India and State Nodal Department.
Does MPLAD Scheme give preference to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe-dominated areas?
Yes. MPs are required to recommend every year, works costing at least 15 percent of the MPLADS entitlement for the year for areas inhabited by Scheduled Caste population and 7.5 percent for areas inhabited by Scheduled Tribe population.
In case there is an insufficient tribal population in the area of Lok Sabha Member, they may recommend this amount for the creation of community assets in tribal areas outside of their constituency but within their State of the election.
In case a State does not have Scheduled Tribe inhabited areas, this amount may be utilized in Scheduled Caste inhabited areas and vice-versa. Moreover, the additional amount of Rs.25 lakh needs to be spent in the tribal areas only.
What is the process of completing abandoned/suspended works?
If there is still any abandoned/ suspended MPLAD work under the Scheme, it shall be completed by the State Government from its own funds. The State Government shall also fix responsibility and take necessary disciplinary action against the erring officials. The District Authority may ensure that the funds must have been utilized as sanctioned earlier so that duplication of allocation of funds does not take place.
Read Full MPLADS Guidelines, 2016.
(The Writer is Editor, Politics Watch)