Union cabinet restores MPLADS after Covid-induced suspension

NEW DELHI, 10 Nov: The union cabinet on Wednesday decided to restore the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) and an MP will get Rs 2 crore for development activities for the remainder of 2021-22 and annually Rs 5 crore thereafter.

The MPLADS was suspended temporarily in April 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its funds went into the Consolidated Fund of India.

Announcing the decision at a press conference, Information & Broadcasting Minister

Anurag Thakur said the union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to restore the scheme for the remaining part of the 2021-22 financial year. The scheme will continue till 2025-26.

While Rs 2 crore to each MP will be released in one instalment for the remaining period of 2021-22, from 2022-23 to 2025-26 funds will be released under the scheme at the rate of Rs 5 crore per annum to them in two instalments of Rs 2.5 crore each, he said.

“During Covid-19, a decision had been taken by the cabinet that for two years, 2020-21 to 2021-22, MPLAD Scheme money will be used in the fight against the pandemic. And all parliamentarians had also enthusiastically given their consent to contribute in the fight against Covid.

“I am glad to share with you that in view of the improvement in economic scenario, the way economic recovery has taken place and we have seen growth in various sectors as well, a decision has been taken to restore MPLAD Scheme for the remainder period of the fiscal 2021-22,” Thakur told reporters at a cabinet briefing.

He said instalments of Rs 5 crore each will be given to parliamentarians for the development of their respective constituencies for the remaining three years – 2022-23 to 2025-26.

In April last year, the government had suspended MPLADS for two years – 2020-21 and 2021-22, and said that the funds totalling about Rs 7,900 crore would be used for improving health infrastructure and managing health services in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic in the country. The government had also reduced the salaries of MPs by 30 percent in April last.

Under the MPLADS, all the MPs can recommend development programmes involving expenditure of Rs 5 crore every year in their constituencies.

The decision had evoked sharp reactions from opposition parties which had criticized the government and had sought its restoration.

While the Congress said the decision would undermine the role of an MP and had sought its review, the left parties and the Trinamool Congress had also slammed the government for the decision. The TMC had termed the step “whimsical” and “undemocratic,” while the Shiv Sena said it was taken unilaterally and without consulting anyone.

Several MPs had later written to the prime minister, seeking restoration of the MPLADS funds.

The restoration of the funds will help MPs carry out development works in their respective constituencies. (PTI)