This is a discussion on MP funds misuse within the Product And Services forums, part of the Miscellaneous category; With over Rs.20 billion unspent till June and millions of rupees not properly audited, the MPs' Local Area Development Scheme ...
With over Rs.20 billion unspent till June and millions of rupees not properly audited, the MPs' Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) is set to adopt checks to prevent any misuse of the Rs.20 million given to each parliamentarian.
New rules would require a certificate on the use of funds by district magistrate, independent authorities and chartered accountants who would conduct audits on the monthly reports by MPs.
The MPs' funds have always come up for questioning due to the large unutilised amount and misuse in the funding of projects.
Many members have also demanded that the funds be increased to Rs.50 million, though in reality even the current allocation is largely unspent.
In the latest figures issued in June, out of the Rs.140.58 billion released by the government, Rs.20.6 billion have remained unspent and the amount spent does not reflect on the respective areas.
The highest unspent balance is in Uttar Pradesh - Rs.2.97 billion - one of India's most poorly developed states despite its high representation in parliament.
Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar also have very poor utilisation of the MPs' funds.
MPs favour making rules more stringent, but are not certain that it would be enough to check the misuse of public money.
"There should be somebody over the district magistrate, because in the current dispensation, misappropriation is rampant," said Rajiv Shukla, an MP of the ruling Congress. "Bureaucrats are making money and some MPs are also in it."
Shukla said it was a popular misconception that the money came to the MPs.
"The money never comes to us. We can only request it for some project and it directly goes to the agency executing it. But there is no accountability after the money is sanctioned."
However, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has noted various irregularities, such as recommendation of doubtful projects like renovation of houses. Then comes over-billing by agencies with the difference pocketed at many levels.
Ved Prakash Goyal, a Rajya Sabha MP of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said even if MPs wanted to be strict and prevent corruption, it was a losing battle against the corrupt officials and agencies.
"I am all for making rules more stringent, but unless the monitoring is good, the system will never benefit people," said Goyal. "We cannot do anything."
The MPLADS began with a sanction of Rs.10 million for each MP to contribute to civic or other development projects in his constituency.
The amount was raised to Rs.20 million, but many MPs find that inadequate.
According to the CAG, the worst states in terms of MPLADS misuse are Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, where over half the fund is misappropriated despite what is seen to be a foolproof system.
An official of the ministry of programme implementation said: "Misuse has been rampant for a long time, but the rules have to be modified to plug the loopholes and ensure that the money trickles down to voters."
New guidelines, after being considered by the parliamentary affairs ministry, will have to be approved by a parliamentary panel.