Rs 10 lakh from MPLADS for assistance to physically challenged

New Delhi: Parliamentarians will soon be allowed to spend up to Rs 10 lakh annually from the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) for providing assistance to the physically challenged.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI), the new provision will come into effect from June 1.

"Government has received representations, requesting that, Members of Parliament be allowed to spend some MPLADS funds in assisting physically challenged people", it said.

"It is accordingly directed that henceforth MPs will be allowed to spend a maximum of Rs 10 lakh per year, from their MPLADS funds, for giving assistance to the physically challenged," the statement said.

The Government had recently decided to increase the annual entitlement under MPLADS from Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore.

"This necessitates a re-look at the entire gamut of operational guidelines and modalities governing the implementation of the MPLAD Scheme, in order to make them simpler, more user friendly and to ensure that MPs can use the annual fund, in a useful manner, to fulfil the urgent needs at the grass root level in time every year," the statement said.

It said representations have been made arguing that physically challenged persons face severe hardships and the government`s policy is to take steps to ameliorate their condition.

"The issue has been considered at length in this Ministry. It is felt that it would be appropriate to allow MPs, as public representatives, to spend some of their MPLADS funds in assisting the physically handicapped in this country towards a better life..," the MOSPI said.

Till now, as part of the MPLADS Guidelines, providing assistance to individuals under the scheme is prohibited.

"After consideration, it has been decided that this condition be relaxed in favour of physically challenged persons only keeping in view the larger public good," the statement said.

For proper utilisation of funds, it has been decided that such assistance be given only for the purchase of tri-cycles and artificial limbs, for differently abled persons.

Besides, directions have been issued that all applications for such assistance will be examined and approved by the Chief Medical Officers of districts to ensure proper eligibility.

"The district authorities, under the District Collector/ Deputy Commissioner, will also be fully involved in the selection of such eligible persons." it added.