Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman has written to MPs for seeking their suggestions on how to address various problems plaguing the MP Local Area Development Scheme(MPLADS).
MPLADS is a Central Sector scheme.The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation formulates the guidelines,releases funds and monitors implementation.
MPLADS provides MPs five crore rupees per annum to identify and fund development projects in their constituencies as per the guidelines drawn up by Parliament.
The role of MPs is limited to ‘recommending’ works as the actual implementation is done by local authorities.Therefore,the scheme does not violate separation of powers.The MPs may recommend projects in sectors such as infrastructure development, public health, sanitation, water among others.
Elected members of the Lok Sabha can suggest developmental works in their constituency, while elected members of Rajya Sabha can recommend works in one or more districts of their State.Further,the nominated members of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha can recommend works in one or more districts anywhere in the country.
The deputy chairman referred to a 1998 CAG which pointed at several instances of mismanagement,misuse of funds and lack of proper accounting of the scheme.
Similarly,he also quoted a programme evaluation report of the erstwhile Planning Commission in 2001 that identified issues such as (a)improper maintenance of records (b)percentage utilisation of the fund being lower than officially reported (c)inflated reporting of expenditure and (d)poor maintenance of assets created.
The Deputy chairman also referred to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report which noted large gaps between the funds available to district authorities and the actual expenditure on the scheme.