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

The Parliament building as seen during the day
news Governance Wednesday, November 10, 2021 - 19:41

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday, November 10, decided to restore the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) and MPs will get Rs 2 crore each for development activities for the remainder of 2021-22, and annually Rs 5 crore thereafter. The MPLAD Scheme 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 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 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-19,” the minister said.  "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 the MPLAD Scheme for the remainder of the fiscal 2021-22," he added.

I&B Minister Anurag Thakur said instalments of Rs 5 crore each will be given to parliamentarians for the development of their respective constituencies for the remaining three years, that is, 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. The government had also reduced the salaries of MPs by 30% in April last.

Under the MPLAD scheme, 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 criticised 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.

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