Utpal Borpujari

August 5, 2010

MPLADS: Sonia, Advani, Lalu on misers’ list

Filed under: Deccan Herald,India,Indian Politics,Media,Politics — Utpal Borpujari @ 2:57 pm
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By Utpal Borpujari

It is not just food grains that are rotting, even cash is. But neither UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi nor NDA working chairman L K Advani can blame Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar for the crores of idle cash in bank accounts meant for welfare activities. 

Indeed, Sonia, Advani and RJD chief Lalu Prasad have found themselves in an embarrassing club of parliamentarians. They have not bothered to spend even a single paisa from the Rs 2 crore fund available to each Parliament members under the MPs’ Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) to undertake welfare and development work in their constituencies.  

An astounding number of 130 of the 545 members in the current Lok Sabha have not utilised any money from their MPLADS allotment for any cause till June 2010, according to an analysis of the data available on the Parliament’s website by NGO Vote for India. Even the most dutiful MP has not been able to spend more than 66 per cent of the fund at his disposal.
The irony is that a large section of MPs have been persistent in their demand for enhancing the fund ceiling––from the current Rs 2 crore a year to Rs 3 crore, if not Rs 5 crore. Obviously, Sonia, Advani and Lalu have deprived their respective electorate in the Rae Bareli, Gandhinagar and Saran Lok Sabha constituencies urgently needed developmental works. 

The list of miserly leaders who have not spent any money during the last 14 months’ period of the 15th Lok Sabha is rather long. Among them are: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Rural Development Minister C P Joshi, Textiles Minister Dayanidhi Maran, Telecom Minister A Raja, BJP leaders M M Joshi, Shahnawaz Hussain and JD (U) president Sharad Yadav. Even young ministers like Sachin Pilot seem to have lost interest in utilising the fund.

Some Karnataka leaders too are in the company of “zero spenders”. They include former chief ministers H D Kumaraswamy and Dharam Singh. First time BJP MPs P C Mohan, Naleen Kumar Kateel and S Pakirappa also have not bothered to use the fund.

Others are no better. Four MPs, including RLD’s Ajit Singh, have been able to spend just Rs 1 lakh during the period, eight MPs, including Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy and former Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor Rs 2 lakh, five MPs including S Shivanagouda and Anant Kumar Hegde of Karnataka Rs 3 lakh, six MPs Rs 4 lakh, and nine MPs including Minister of State for Petroleum Jitin Prasada just Rs 5 lakh.

Funds under the scheme are deposited in the designated accounts of MPs in proportion to the spending rate. Thus, the MPs spending less will have lesser funds released into their account, while those spending more will get more funds.

Better performers include Fertiliser Minister M K Alagiri of the DMK (Rs 1.24 crore), Speaker Meira Kumar (Rs 1.19 crore), Mulayam Singh Yadav of the SP (Rs 1.09 crore), Law Minister M Veerappa Moily (Rs 1 crore), Home Minister P Chidambaram (Rs 97 lakh).

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 05-08-2010)



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