The Print

More than Rs 300 crore in the MLA local area development scheme (MLA LADS) remains unspent in Gujarat and will expire on completion of the five-year term of the state Assembly, a report by a polls rights group said on Friday.

As per the report, of Rs 1,004 crore worth of development works recommended by MLAs, only projects to the tune of Rs 677.5 crore had been completed till March 22.

The Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and NGO Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP) jointly prepared the report on the performance of MLAs of the outgoing Gujarat Assembly.

“Under the MLA local area development fund scheme (MLA LADS), every MLA can recommend/suggest developmental works worth Rs 1.5 crore in her/his constituency. The District Planning Board keeps the accounts of the MLA LADS fund. In Gujarat, this scheme has over Rs 1,365 crore,” the report said.

Development works worth Rs 1,004.15 crore were recommended by MLAs in 2017-22, of which Rs 849.64 crore were released and Rs 677.5 crore were spent till March 2022, which was around 67.47 per cent, it said.

“Only 76 per cent of the works were completed out of the total 53,029 projects that were sanctioned. Of 53,020 sanctioned works, only 40,428 were completed till March 2022,” the report stated.

“The budget allocated for MLA LAD funds is for five years. The unspent amount of Rs 300 crore will expire once the Assembly term ends. This amount could have been effectively used,” the report said.

The term of the present Assembly will end in December and it is unlikely that the unspent funds can be used in such a short time, it said.

As many as 6,094 projects could not be started at all despite sanctioning of works, the report said, recommending that the planning committee look into the reason for this.

In tribal districts, of the total Rs 252 crore funds available with MLAs, projects worth Rs 230.37 crore were sanctioned, and only Rs 177.40 crore were spent. Thus, Rs 75 crore remains unspent from the MLA LADs funds, the ADR report said.

Out of 14,689 works planned and sanctioned, only 11,445 were completed (77 per cent), which shows several gaps in the planning and execution stages, it said.

“We had filed an RTI with all district planning boards offices to get details of the expenses carried out under the MLA LADS, as no proper data is available on government websites regarding this,” said Pankti Jog of the MAGP.

The report has also demanded a separate website that will provide details of expenditure of funds and work executed using MPLAD funds of each MP in each year.

“There should be comprehensive guidelines for kind of work to be recommended under MLA LAD scheme, implementation mechanism, review for its progress, if the work could not be started, then reason for same and reason for under-utilisation,” the report said.

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