MP John Brittas | Photo: ANI
New Delhi: CPI(M) MP John Brittas has written to Union Minister Rao Inderjit Singh alleging the Centre of "enforcing Hindi" in new draft guidelines of MPLADs funds in an "infringement of federal principles."
Citing the draft guidelines of MPLADs funds, Brittas claimed that Para 3.23 of the draft guidelines "surreptitiously" tries to introduce a new stipulation of erecting a plaque at MPLADS project sites inscribing the details of work in Hindi as well.
No such condition is there in the existing guidelines, Brittas said in the letter to Singh, the Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation.
"The Union Government has a bounden duty to enrich federalism, diversity and plurality in the country. As such, any enforced directive to depict the details of work in Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states can only be considered an infringement of federal principles. The selection of languages to be used in plaques may be left to the wisdom of respective MPs," he said.
Under MPLADs, all MPs can recommend development work of up to Rs 5 crore in a year in their respective constituencies.
Brittas, a Rajya Sabha MP, claimed in the new draft procedures it has been proposed that an annual entitlement of Rs 5 crore will be transferred to a Central Nodal Agency (CNA) in the Union Statistics Ministry, which will directly transfer the funds into the vendor's accounts, and not in the district authorities of the MPs concerned.
The bank accounts of local authorities of nodal districts will be treated as pass-through accounts, he claimed in the letter adding the draft guidelines suggest closing all existing accounts of district authorities under the MPLADS and transferring all unspent amounts to the CNA.
"There is a clandestine attempt to infringe the principles of decentralisation by wresting the currently available rights and privileges of state authorities to have funds in their accounts," he said.
Brittas has asked the Centre to obtain concurrence from stakeholders, including presiding officers of both Lok Sabha and parliamentary committees of both House on these draft guidelines before making changes to the scheme.
The MPLADS was launched by the P V Narasimha Rao government in 1993. It was suspended in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restored in November 2021.