MPLADS: Provision for SC, ST communities reinstated a day after John Brittas slammed govt

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Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP John Brittas speaks in Rajya Sabha | Videograb: SansadTV via ANI

New Delhi: A day after Communist Party of India (Marxist) Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas slammed the union government for skipping the special provision for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities in the revised 2023 MPLADS, the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme, the government issued a corrigendum reinstating the provision.

“In order to give due attention to the development of infrastructure in the areas inhabited by Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Members of Parliament are to recommend every year, works costing at least 15 per cent of the total MPLADS entitlement for the year for areas inhabited by Scheduled Caste population and at least 7.5 per cent of the total MPLADS entitlement for the year for areas inhabited by Scheduled Tribe population,” the corrigendum dated March 14, issued by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation read.

Brittas had said that the omission of the clause would have a far reaching impact on the SC and ST communities.

"This obligatory condition has been tacitly converted in the latest 2023 guidelines to a mere advisory clause so that it is no longer mandatory for MPs for compulsory allocation of funds from MPLADS for SC and ST populations. This guileful dilution of the Scheme would be convenient to elude from the responsibility of allocation of funds to SC-ST populations," he told news agency ANI.

The corrigendum also noted that the funds could be used for government-aided institutions as well. Brittas had also criticised the exclusion of government-aided institutions from the ambit of MPLADS. "This regressive decision will have far-reaching consequences for sectors like education where government-aided institutions play a crucial role," he said. Brittas cited the example of Kerala where aided institutions are bulwarks of educational advancement.

The corrigendum also included cooperative societies in the ambit of MPLADS.

CPM Upper House MP had urged the Central Government to put partisan politics aside and to withdraw this unconscionable modification and to retain the extent provision as such.

The guidelines issued by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation were the first comprehensive review of the scheme since 2016.

With ANI inputs

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