There is a wide disparity in utilisation of funds allocated under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme by parliamentarians from Delhi. While Manoj Tiwari, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from North-East Delhi and Delhi unit head, has spent the least from the funds allocated to him, Udit Raj, another BJP MP who represents North-West Delhi, has spent the most.

According to data of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, from 2014-2017, out of the Rs 20 crore total entitlement during the period, Tiwari spent only Rs 1.08 crore, while Dalit leader Udit Raj has already spent almost half of the total amount (Rs 20 crore) he is entitled to draw for 2014-2017 from MPLAD funds .

Residents of the area under Tiwari’s constituency alleged that basic infrastructure in the area was deteriorating “I don’t know of any such scheme (MPLAD), but if funds are there, they should have been spent on the development of our constituency,” Rajesh Batra, a resident of Seelampur, one the most backward areas of Delhi, told The Sunday Guardian.

Tiwari represents a constituency that has the city’s poorest pockets, where connectivity, drainage problems, cleanliness and lack of healthcare are some of the key issues.

Manoj Tiwari did not respond to the text messages sent by this reporter.

Every year, MPs are allotted Rs 5 crore each under the MPLAD scheme, primarily to take up development projects in their respective constituencies. The funds have been increased over time, starting from Rs 5 lakh in 1993-94 to Rs 5 crore at present.

There are three major stakeholders in the entire process—the MP, district authorities and the Government of India.

MPs recommend works to be undertaken under the MPLAD scheme based on locally felt needs; with preference to certain sectors, including drinking water facility, education, healthcare, sanitation, irrigation, roads, etc. Following the recommendation, the district authorities are responsible for sanctioning eligible works, and implementation of the sanctioned ones.

As per official guidelines, the district authorities shall make the selection of an implementing agency for execution of the recommended works by an MP.

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.

In Delhi, other than Udit Raj, Meenakshi Lekhi, who represents New Delhi, spent almost Rs 9 crore from MPLAD funds during 2014-2017, while East Delhi MP Mahesh Giri spent Rs 8.9 crore during the same period.

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