A little more than Rs 120 billion in Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLAD) funds have remained unused till the end of the 2017-18 fiscal year, an internal report has stated. Of this, about Rs 48 billion, or 10 per cent, still remains unspent, while the remaining amount of Rs 73 billion is yet to be allocated due to backlogs.
The internal report, whose contents were examined by Business Standard, has been drafted by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI). The report states that the unutilised amount is mainly due to the state and district administrations not following up on them.
Till February 2018, about Rs 480 billion has been released, of which 10 per cent remains unspent, the report showed. For each Member of Parliament (MP), the annual entitlement under MPLAD is Rs 50 million and is released in two equal installments of Rs 25 million each. For a full-term of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, an MP gets 10 and 12 installments, respectively.
The report showed that there are 2,920 pending installments of Rs 25 million each, making it about Rs 73 billion worth of installments that have not been released.
Critical in its assessment, the report stated that the “utilisation of funds in respect of Hon’ble MPs of the 16th Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha is very slow in various states. Owing to slow utilisation, releases of installments in respect of many last years are still pending.”
“The state authorities are requested to look into the details of the pending installments (MP-wise) and direct and facilitate for removing the reasons causing pendency. State authorities should also hold regular meetings with the district authorities having more pendency,” it said.
The report also asks state governments to take up the cases rigorously, where utilisation is not up to the mark, to improve the utilisation of funds. “The states should ensure that funds released in a year are used in the same year so that delay in their release could be curbed. District authorities may be directed to speed up utilisation for keeping releases up-to-date,” it said.
Uttar Pradesh tops the list of the biggest laggards, with nearly Rs 7 billion in unspent funds and 386 pending installments. Maharashtra has Rs 4 billion in unspent funds and 344 pending installments. The other states, which are lagging behind the most in utilising of MPLAD funds, are Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.