Monday, February 13, 2006

MPLAD : what is the fuss

MPLAD as it stands is Member of Parliament's Local Area development Fund and was introduced by PV Narsimharao's minority govt. in 1993 to keep opposition as well as ruling MPs who could not become minister in good humour. the whole premise was that which developments works to be taken in which constituency is solely decided by excutive under guidance from legilature that means from governing party.So there are chances of an opposition MP being sidelined in whole process and he can't justify his election to his people.This problem was particulary acute in 60's when it was a foregone conclusion that Congree forms the govt at centre and states , oppostion MPs did have a hard time to convince their voters to vote for them. or consider a state with a constituency with predominance of particular relgious,ethnic or linguistic group.Now three are high chances that some purticualr political party will have its sway here no matter what happens on larger political scene ,so it migt happen that this area is neglected in development. e.g. leh in J&K or belgaum in Karnataka really have this kind of problem.
Mechanism was that the MP will suggest schemes and DM will implement.Obviously they had to be socially important or durable asset creating schemes.Inital amount was 1 crore per MP which was later increased to 2crore. State govts. started their own version of this scheme later and it became a popular scheme.
But in recent times there has been many controversy associated with this scheme starting with MPs demanding money to sanction a particular project and an election commissioner getting money for his trusts.
Another accusation was that many MPs were not using the money or just sanctioning lot of useless projects just before election or end of financial yr.

While no one can deny that there are some really basic flaws in the structure and exeution of schem but scrapping it altogether is no soltution at all.
Its just like you have a system with some problems then instead of tryingto solve them scrap the system.This is plain escapism.
Yesterday one of my friend told me that Khushwant Singh has suggested that we should ban all the religious processions because they lead to social tension and in some cases to riots.
Now come on.U ca nalways regulate things.Decide the timing,route,no of people ,volume level in a procession but banning them outright is escapism.
For MPLADs I guess following things can be suggested:
1. Create a national level website listing all MPs and schems they have prposedand schems implemnted so far with all accounts or photos.
2.People will have idea that how this money is being used in different parts of country and there should be provision for people to suggest their MPS what actually they want.They can also have a kind of online poll thing.
3. For the timing donation to NGOs or clubs etc should br banned or reduced to 20 or 30 percent of the total outlay.
4.Next thing could be that you could club the sum total and have a committe of Local MP,MLA and municipal member to decide on scheme.There r fair chances that they will be from different parties ,so more scrutiny.
5.Each DM should publish the list of works done in loacl papers once a year.I tihnk insted of spending money in printing tenders which no noe reads all the action taken reports on govt schemes should be published in newspapers.For tenders u can have websites as anyone fillnig a tender is sufficiently rich to have internet access.

Ultimately transparency and better vigilance by public and media are two ways in which we can derive maximum benefit of this schem but scrapping it will mean losing a golden opportunity for equitable development and amicable relationships between varios stakeholders.


Vedanti said...

Call it by any name the MPLAD or the MLA LAD which is modelled on the former, it gives an opportunity for the individual or individuals to manipulate and get something done outside the budget.
Best way is to convert the scheme into backward region development fund and allot the same to the needy districts.

Hiren said...

You are right. The whole issue is one of political accountability and transparency and the scheme per se is not bad. That should be extended to other areas in the political spectrum. The whole issue is one of political accountability.