MPs protest action against them under MPLAD scheme

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New Delhi, Mar 4: Opposition members in Rajya Sabha Thursday strongly objected to initiation of action against MPs for violations in MPLADS scheme saying they were merely making recommendations, with the government saying it will clear the “confusion” and issue necessary clarifications to rectify it.

The members were objecting to the statement of Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation V K Singh that wherever action is required for violations in MPLAD scheme, government gives instructions to recover the money from a particular Member of Parliament if it has been done in bad faith.

“The implementation of MPLAD scheme is done through state authorities and district authorities…The CAG also carries out an audit. Wherever an issue has been found, the state authorities have been told to take punitive action…

“Where action is required, we do given instructions to recover that money from the particular MP if it has been done in bad faith,” Singh said replying to supplementaries to a question on violations in MPLAD scheme.

This was strongly objected to by Paul Manoj Pandian (AIADMK) who said “MPs only  recommend and district authorities carry out the work. The Minister’s statement that the amount will be recovered from the MP is not accepted at all.”

He was joined by Anand Sharma (Congress), his party colleagues and several members from other parties.

Singh said very detailed guidelines have been laid down and “where we find that the guidelines have been violated, we do ask the district authorities to ascertain who has violated the guidelines. Where guidelines are violated, the  Ministry asks district authorities why and when guidelines are violated by the MP, (and) obviously the MP is asked.”

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After MPs raised uproar over the issue, Chairman Hamid Ansari said, “I think this is a matter relating to MPLADS scheme with which every single member is very familiar, both about the scheme and about the procedure. If the answer is inadequate, there is a procedure by which that can be pointed out. The simple procedure is that if you are dissastisfied then you raise a half-an-hour discussion.”

At this, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venakaiah Naidu said “I can understand the anxiety and concern of the members.

There is some confusion on account of the word used …There seems to be some confusion and we will discuss among ourselves and see that necessary clarification is issued.”

He said accountability rests on the District Magistrate to ascertain the violations. “This is not a political issue, it concerns all members. If the MP makes a suggestion or recommendation, then it is within the rules that has to be seen by the DM or the nodal officer. Then if the work is out of the purview of guidelines, then the work can be deleted.”

Asked about raising the fund limit under MPLADS on the ground that the current limit was insufficient, Singh said “the funds are meant only for durable assets, community assets. The position is that both the Houses have  ecommended that limit of MPLADS must be raised. The issue is with the Finance Ministry for last 4 years. Whenever it is decided, the members will come to know”.

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