As the Lok Sabha elections draw near, and Bengalureans go out to vote along with the rest of south Karnataka on April 18, here is an analysis of the utilisation of funds by the sitting MPs. A study compiled by Bengaluru Political Action Committee (B.PAC) has found that three city MPs (all from BJP) have together utilised 92% of the total funds allotted to them.
While Union Minister and former CM Sadananda Gowda has utilised 100% of his funds for Bengaluru North, PC Mohan of Bengaluru Central has used 82%. Late Ananth Kumar who passed away in November 2018, has utilised 82%.
Providing drinking water and other water-related infrastructure were the top focus areas of spending across the three constituencies in Bengaluru, with spending of 25.98%. This was followed by infrastructure development (12.62%) and public amenities (10.78%) among the top three allocations across the three parliamentary constituencies.
In terms of region-wise spending, the study found that Hebbal assembly segment— 13% in Bengaluru North, Basavangudi assembly segment— 25% in Bengaluru South and Chamrajpet assembly segment— 28% in Bengaluru Central, got the highest allocation.
Each MP is given Rs 5 crore of MPLADS (Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) fund for his/her constituency per year based on works recommended by him/her. However, the works have to be carried out by the District Collector.
BPAC is a citizens group headed by technocrats and investors like Revathy Ashok, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Mohandas Pai. The report was released as part of Election Habba, an election awareness campaign initiated by B.PAC.
Revathy Ashok, Managing Trustee and CEO of B.PAC said, “B.PAC has been at the forefront of advocating good governance through transparency and participatory democracy. This study intends to achieve the same as it was performed in consultation with all the three MPs and taking their qualitative inputs into consideration. This effort was done to bring in transparency and accountability of utilisation of public funds among the elected representatives. Such initiatives seek to bridge the information gap between citizens and elected representatives.”
Following the recommendation, the district authority is responsible for sanctioning the eligible works, and implementation of the sanctioned ones. As per official guidelines, the district authority shall make the selection of an implementing agency for execution of the recommended works by an MP. The Government of India releases the annual entitlement of Rs. 5 crore in two equal instalments of Rs 2.5 crore each, directly to the district authority.
The study, which considered spending between 2014-18 also noted that 61% of the MPLADS fund was spent within the BBMP limits, while the rest of the amount was spent in rural parts of the three constituencies.