New Delhi: Having raised the annual allocation of Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) from Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore, the government on Thursday relaxed norms under the programme, providing greater flexibility to parliamentarians to use the fund. According to a press statement by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the government has decided to allow an MP to recommend any eligible work within or outside the state of his election up to a maximum of Rs 10 lakh in a financial year. "The existing MPLADS guidelines are somewhat restrictive to the extent that they allow an MP to contribute outside the state/UT (union territory) 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," the statement said. "In order to give more flexibility to the MPs, it is now allowed to an MP to recommend any work eligible under MPLADs outside his/her state/UT of election up to a maximum of Rs 10 lakh in a financial year," the statement said. It said the new provision will enable MPs to assist states other than their own and promote national unity. The government also decided to relax norms for release of funds under the MPLADS.
The district authority has been allowed to release 75 percent of estimated cost of a sanctioned work in advance as a first instalment if the implementing agency is a government agency and 25 percent as second instalment after sufficient progress has been achieved. The existing MPLADS guidelines stipulate that the funds would be released to the implementing agencies in two equal instalments of 50 percent. The new guidelines say that in case of MPLADS works up to Rs 2 lakh being carried out by government agencies, the entire amount shall be released in a single instalment. In case where either the user agency or the implementing agency is private, the district authorities have been authorised to release funds up to 60 percent of the sanctioned amount as first instalment and the balance amount of 40 percent in second or third instalments. The new guidelines have also widened the scope of providing ambulances or hearse vans under the MPLADS.
"Now on recommendation of an MP, ambulance/hearse vans would be purchased freely and operated through private organisations," the statement said, adding that there will be stipulations for their use. The existing guidelines provide that ambulances or hearse vans can be given only to the government hospitals. The new norms also stipulate that an MP can contribute only up to Rs 50 lakh in a financial year to various trusts or societies for community welfare or public utility works permissible under MPLADS. According to the revised norms, 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," the statement said. MPLADS was launched in December 1993 to enable MPs to respond to requests of development works from people of their constituencies. The scheme allows MPs to allocate funds for community oriented projects which could not be taken up in normal process of development planning. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had announced in March this year that the funds under MPLADS had been increased from Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore.