New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday announced that the annual allocation of funds for Members of Parliament has been increased from the present Rs 2 crore to Rs fiver crore, while enlarging the basket of eligible items under the MPLAD scheme.
Today’s substantial increase in the MPLAD funds comes after a gap of 13 years.
Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation MS Gill on Thursday said that he firmly believes that the benefit of the scheme should reach to the people at the grassroots level and the scheme should also contribute towards promoting national integrity and harmony.
“In order to ensure that the MPLAD funds can be spent timely, speedily, effectively and fruitfully throughout the country, the guidelines are now being made more broad based, simple and easily implementable,” Dr Gill said.
Pointing out that the Centre has recently allowed spending of MPLAD fund in assisting physically challenged people, which has received wide appreciation, Dr Gill added that to give MPs a larger choice of projects under the MPLAD fund, the basket of eligible items under the scheme are being enlarged.
The Government, after detailed discussion and consultation, has decided to change the guidelines, as the existing rules were found to be somewhat restrictive.
The earlier guidlines allowed an MP to contribute outside the State/UT of his/her election, only for works relating to education and culture of his State/UT to the maximum amount of Rs 10 lakh in a financial year.
In order to give more flexibility to the MPs, the new guidelines will now allow an MP to recommend any eligible works which are eligible under MPLADs in his own State/UT outside his/her State/UT of election up to a maximum of Rs 10 lakh in a financial year.
This improvement would enable the MPs to assist in the needs of various States/UTs other than their own and this would promote national unity, harmony, and brotherhood among the people and promote national integration.
Besides, the existing MPLAD Guidelines stipulate that the funds would be released to the implementing agencies in two equal instalments of 50 per cent each.
To speed up the work and to ensure timely completion of the approved projects, the guidelines are now changed to allow the District Authority to release 75 per cent of the estimated cost of a sanctioned work in advance as a first instalment if the implementing agency is a Government Agency, and 25 per cent as second instalment after sufficient progress has been achieved.
In case of all MPLAD works up to Rs2 lakh are being undertaken by Government Agencies, the entire amount shall be released as advance in a single instalment.
In cases even exceeding this amount, if the State Government rules permit giving advance of 100 per cent, then the same would be applicable to the MPLADS work also.
In case of MPLAD works, where either the user agency or the implementing agency is private, the district authorities are authorized to release funds up to 60 per cent of the sanctioned amount, as first instalment and balance amount of 40 per cent would be released as second/third instalment. However, the condition attached to his are that 25 per cent after 3/4th of the work is finished and the last 15 per cent after satisfactory completion of works.
Dr Gill said that as ambulances/Hearse Vans are the felt need of the people in all the districts across the country.
Under the existing guidelines, the Ambulances/Hearse Vans can be given only to the Government hospitals. It is decided to widen the scope.
Now on the recommendation of the MP, Ambulance/Hearse Vans would be purchased freely and operated through private organizations. However, the private organisations will have to ensure that the Ambulance/Hearse vans will be purchased with the recommendation of the CMO/Civil Surgeon/District Magistrate, on the proposal of the Member of Parliament; The ownership of the ambulance/Hearse vans so purchased would vest with the District Authority/CMO/Civil Surgeon and the service will be run under the general supervision of the CMO/Civil Surgeon.
The CMO/Civil Surgeon may outsource it for running/operation for a two years period at a time, to National/State level trusts/societies, of repute under a management contract, after following a transparent process, and on the recommendation of a three-member Committee, consisting of CMO/Civil Surgeon and two other representatives of District Magistrate, and recommendation duly approved by District Magistrate;
The said Trust/Society operating the ambulance/Hearse van, would be responsible for maintenance, POL and driver and user charges would be fixed, by the District Authority(on the recommendation of a committee), who would be responsible to ensure, that the charges so fixed, are reasonable and affordable for the common man.
Besides this, the District Collector/Deputy Commissioner/District Magistrate, shall monitor the services provided, by these Ambulances/Hearse vans, to ensure maximum benefit to the public; and
Each Ambulance/Hearse van so purchased, shall have bold markings on both sides, clearly stating ‘Ambulance/Hearse Van, purchased with Government of India, MPLADS Funds, contributed by the concerned MP.’
Under the present Guidelines Trusts/societies can avail an amount of Rs 25 lakh in his lifetime whether contribution is made by either one MP or group of MPs for community infrastructure and public utility works permissible under MPLADs.
In addition to the above stipulation which will continue, it has been decided that an MP can contribute only up to Rs 50 lakh in financial year to various Trusts/societies.
This stipulation would allow availability of larger MPLAD funds for developmental activities in villages and township for general public.
Dr Gill further said that it was observed that works recommended by MPs, for very small financial amounts, are creating impediments, in implementation owing to difficulty in processing the sanctions, monitoring the implementation, and maintenance of records.
He said that it was therefore decided that the minimum amount sanctioned under MPLADS, for any project or work, should not be less than Rs 1 lakh.
However in exceptional cases such as hand pumps, solar electric lamps, chaupals, and equipments/instruments/ computers, it may be less.(INN)