Share of unspent funds under MPLAD doubled during 17th Lok Sabha

Business-standard, April 25, 2024

Members of Parliament (MPs) elected to the Lok Sabha in 2019 have not utilised funds allocated to them by the government under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme as effectively as their predecessors.

For instance, the share of unspent money under the MPLAD scheme at the end of the tenure of the current Lok Sabha nearly doubled to 16 per cent compared to 8.7 per cent in the 16th Lok Sabha (2014-19). Till April 2024, ministry of statistics and programme implementation (MoSPI) data shows that out of the total amount of Rs 5,185 crore available with the district authorities for spending, Rs 842 crore remained unspent during the current Lok Sabha.

This exponential rise in the share of unspent money is despite the fact that the scheme remained suspended for nearly 18 months during Covid. And, the funds released by the government under the scheme more than halved from Rs 12,945 crore in the previous Lok Sabha.

In comparison, only 3.4 per cent (Rs 379 crore) of the total allocated funds (Rs 10,926 crore) remained unspent in the 15th Lok Sabha (2009-14). Less than 1 per cent (Rs 143 crore) of the allocated Rs 14,482 crore was unspent in the 14th Lok Sabha (2004-09). Every year, each parliamentarian under the scheme is allocated Rs 5 crore to carry out development work in their constituency.

Under the scheme, MPs can write to their district authorities recommending work they want to be carried out in their constituencies.

These projects can range from sectors such as education, health, sanitation, agriculture to construction of roads, among others. The guidelines state that the projects recommended by the MPs should have long-term public utility and contribute in creation of durable community assets based on local needs.

Under the scheme, there are three types of amounts — amount released by the government, amount sanctioned by district authorities and amount spent.

The sanctioned amount by the district authorities is the amount that is used for a project. It can be more than the released amount because it also includes the interest earned on the amount released by the government and the amount carried forward from the past years. Under the scheme, the utilisation percentage can be more than 100 per cent as it is calculated as the ratio of amount spent to the amount released by the government.

The data shows that MPs who were elected in 2019 were able to utilise 96.3 per cent of the MPLAD funds in their constituencies.

This is lower than the utilisation of MPLAD funds by MPs of the 16th Lok Sabha (99 per cent) and 15th Lok Sabha (102.7 per cent).

Among the major states and Union Territories, parliamentarians from Haryana (74 per cent) fared the worst in terms of fund utilisation. It was followed by Jammu & Kashmir (77.5 per cent), Telangana (78 per cent) and West Bengal (80 per cent). Meanwhile, parliamentarians from Andhra Pradesh (131 per cent) have the highest fund utilisation, followed by Gujarat (109 per cent), Karnataka (107.9 per cent) and Himachal Pradesh (105 per cent).

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