Union Cabinet restores MPLADS after break caused by pandemic

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to restore the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS). MPs will get Rs 2 crore for development activities for the remainder of 2021-22 and annually Rs 5 crore thereafter.

The MPLAD Scheme was suspended in April 2020 due to the pandemic and funds went into the Consolidated Fund of India. Announcing the decision at a press conference, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to restore the scheme for the remaining part of financial year 2021-22. The scheme will continue till 2025-26.

While Rs 2 crore to each MP will be released in one instalment for the remainder of 2021-22, from 2022-23 to 2025-26 funds will be released at the rate of Rs 5 crore per annum in two instalments of Rs 2.5 crore each. “During COVID-19, a decision had been taken by the Cabinet that for 2020-21 and 2021-22, MPLAD Scheme money will be used in the fight against the pandemic.

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, a decision has been taken to restore MPLAD Scheme for the remainder period of the fiscal 2021-22,” Thakur said at the briefing.Under the MPLAD Scheme, all MPs can recommend development programmes involving expenditure of `5 crore every year in their constituencies.  The decision to suspend it had evoked sharp reactions from Opposition parties, which criticised the government and sought its restoration.

While the Congress said the decision would undermine the role of an MP and had sought its review, Left parties and Trinamool Congress had also slammed the government for the decision. The TMC had termed the step “whimsical” and “undemocratic”.