TODAY -

MLA fund from Rs 2 Cr to 4 Cr

Free Thinker *



The Delhi Government has increased the local area development fund for their MLAs from 4 cr rupees to 7 cr. Delhi can do it easily because they have enough resources; for instance, their excise revenue is one of the highest in the country.

Other States may follow suit but most have financial constraints. MLAs in the States certainly want a hike in their local area development fund. The irony is that most of them feel that this fund is their own.

There are many dos and don'ts for the MLAs to use this fund. The list of dos has increased over the years in all the States. This is a model which is adopted from the Union Government. The number of work that can be taken up using this fund has increased manifold. The same thing applies to our State too.

In the beginning, this fund was allowed to be used for building durable assets for public welfare. Nowadays I am told that our MLAs are perhaps spending on anything and everything beyond the doable list. Later they get the clearance from the competent authorities.

I don't know whether the Government can relax the terms and conditions for spending the local area development fund after spending the entire money on non-doable items. Ideally, relaxation must be given before the work is taken up. Some genuine work (outside the permissible list) may be allowed in the public interest or State interest but not as routine.

Considering the need of the hour we may relax the terms and conditions of using the local area fund.MLAs may be allowed to spend their local area fund on the relief and rehabilitation of the displaced people due to the ethnic clashes .

I really don't know whether the relaxation has already been provided. If not, it should be done at the earliest. Moreover all the MLAs must be given permission to spend the fund in other constituencies where there is more need for relief and rehabilitation.

MP local area fund was once allowed to contribute in the Relief and rehabilitation activities of the Uttarakhand natural disaster.If I remember correctly some MPs Contributed their entire fund - to spend on the relief and rehabilitation.

Even during Covid pandemic the MPLAD fund was frozen. Some Members wanted once again to donate their entire local area development fund to the Prime Minister's relief fund for use to combat Covid. Since the fund had been frozen it might be assumed that they had contributed to the government exchequer in dealing the Covid menace.

In our context all the 60 MLAs may be given permission to donate their fund to the Chief Minister’s relief fund for the purpose of relief and rehabilitation of the victims of the unfortunate ethnic clashes. If it is not done, they may be allowed to use the fund for the purpose of giving assistance to the affected people of the conflict.

The victims need financial help for medical treatment, children's education, reconstruction of the houses and business. If the MLA fund is allowed to be utilized for such benevolent works freely - that will be a blessing for all the 70 thousand people who are directly or indirectly impacted by the ethnic clashes.

Some of our MLAs want to extend financial help to the victims but they are helpless. Until and unless the rules are amended they can't provide pecuniary assistance to the hapless victims of the ethnic madness.

They genuinely want to rebuild the houses destroyed during the clash, educate the children of the victims, provide medical assistance, etc. Rules for using this fund may be relaxed so that they can use the fund in a more lenient manner. As far as helping the victims of the ethnic strife they must be given a free hand.

One MLA who does not want to quote his name says that they have already approached the CM to hike the fund; they want to do a lot of work for the welfare of the people. But due to financial limitations, they remain helpless.

Certainly, our MLAs want a hike in their local area development fund so that they can do more work for their constituencies and the State. It may be augmented from 2 cr to 4 cr.

If possible Hill MLAs may be given 5 cr because they need to do more work as compared to Valley MLAs.We are a poor State we can't compete with Delhi. However, let us hope that they spend the funds honestly for the welfare of the people and not for their welfare.

One more item can be inserted in the doable list so that it gives a fillip to the newly launched initiative ‘Daru Banao Paisa Kamao” . MLAs associated with Sekmai, Andro, Kakching, Phayeng, etc., may be allowed to utilize the fund in the promotion of our local brew - encouraging cottage industry for mass benefit.

All the MLAs may also be allowed to push the production and export of the brew. Their fund may also be utilized to support the poor brewers.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on December 19 2023 .



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