Members of Indian Parliament (MPs) can now spend Rs 10 lakhs a year from their discretionary development fund to donate tri-cycles and artificial limbs for differently abled persons, breaking from the earlier ‘social facilities only’ stipulation of the scheme.
This is the first amendment which allows MPs to directly spend MPLAD funds on individuals. Under the previous guidelines, all spending must be done for the good of the society as a whole, and not for private individuals.
The amendment to the guidelines has come after getting repeated requests from MPs that they should be allowed to spend part of their development funds (Rs 5 crore per year) on physically challenged people.
“The issue has been considered at length, in this Ministry. It is felt, that it would be appropriate, to allow Members of Parliament, as public representatives, to spend some of their MPLAD funds, in assisting the physically handicapped in this country, towards a better life, as a mark of their concern,” the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation said.
The government had, recently increased the discretionary fund — called MP Local Area Development or MPLAD Fund — from Rs 2 crore (20 million) per year to Rs 5 crore.
MPLAD Fund was created to cater to demands by local civil society for infrastructure-related development assistance from their elected MPs. They are currently allowed to spend the money on setting up bus shelters, improving gardens etc. within their own constituency.