TMC leader Sudip Bandopadhyay urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday not to suspend the MPLAD funds scheme as it would impact development works at the grassroots level and demanded a financial moratorium for West Bengal to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
Bandopadhyay, the leader of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the Lok Sabha, spoke to the prime minister during a video-conference Modi held with the floor leaders of different parties in Parliament to discuss the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s efforts to contain the fast-spreading virus in the country.
“I have requested the prime minister for a financial moratorium for West Bengal and to give the financial package of Rs 25,000 crore as demanded by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. I have also requested him not to suspend the MPLAD funds and told him that we are ready to give away our full salary,” he said.
The MPLAD funds help public representatives to take development to the grassroots level and it should not be stopped, Bandopadhyay added.
The Union cabinet approved an ordinance on Monday to reduce the salaries of the Members of Parliament (MPs) by 30 per cent for a year and utilise the amount in the fight against coronavirus.
The cabinet also approved a temporary suspension of the MPLAD (Member of Parliament Local Area Development) funds scheme during 2020-21 and 2021-22, and said it will be used for managing health services and the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The TMC had earlier said it would not attend Wednesday’s meeting with the prime minister, but subsequently, changed its decision.
On the export of hydroxychloroquine, Bandopadhyay said the TMC has conveyed its opinion that the medicine should be shipped to other countries only after it is ensured that India has an adequate supply to serve its own needs.