As much as Rs 12,000 crore have remained unutilised since 2004, the year 14th Lok Sabha was constituted which saw Congress returning to the power after a gap of six years.
The local area development funds of Members of Parliament (MPLADs) are meant for MPs to carry out developmental works in their respective constituencies which they represent in the Parliament. According to the rules, every year, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs are allocated Rs 5 crore under the MPLAD scheme to take up development projects. The rules empower each MP to suggest the district officials for works to the tune of Rs 5 crore every year in his/her constituency. But ironically, as much as Rs 12,000 crore have remained unutilised since 2004, the year 14th Lok Sabha was constituted which saw Congress returning to the power after a gap of six years.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, which cited a report prepared by the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the amount remained unspent largely on account of district agencies and authorities not following through on them. As of February 2018, the Ministry report shows that Uttar Pradesh tops the list of the states with unspent funds. The state is followed by Maharashtra, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
UP minister Siddharth Nath Singh said that the state government is coordinating with the MPs for utilisation of money. “The UP government is coordinating with the MPs for effective utilisation of fund. Together, the party and the government would ensure maximum utilisation of the funds which could be used for the upliftment of the poor and the needy,” the HT report quoted him as saying.
When Bihar Minister for Planning and Development Rajiv Ranjan alias Lalan Singh was asked about the reasons, he said that there may be various causes and that he will personally look into the exact reasons as to why the funds remained unutilised for so long.
“At times several MPs recommend some projects on lands which are involved in legal wrangles. We have to look for the exact reasons for non-utilisation of funds,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has convened a review meeting of all its state-level nodal secretaries to discuss the issue on August 30. The report said that the Ministry wants a coordination between state and district authorities along with the respective MPs to ensure funds are used every year.
According to the agenda paper of the meeting, a large number of instalments are not released by the competent authority due to non-furnishing of requisite documents by the nodal district authority. It said that in many cases, the delay is caused because already-released funds have not been utilised. Also, a failure in obtaining the utilization certificate (UC) and faulty UCs or faulty audit certificates are also the major reasons why these funds remain unutilised.
As per the scheme, all Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs are entitled to get Rs 5 crore every year for development work in their constituencies or states. The money is released in two equal instalments.