New Delhi: Raking up another issue after Adarsh and Ordinance on convicted lawmakers, Union minister Milind Deora has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking replacement of MPLADS scheme with a new programme to provide skill training and employability to people.
Deora`s earlier remarks on Adarsh scam and the Ordinance had preceded Rahul Gandhi`s decisive interventions on these issues giving an impression that he had raised them after the green signal from the party high command or at least he could read the mind of the leadership, a contention which he had sought to downplay saying he was no weatherman.
In a letter sent to the Prime Minister yesterday, Deora said the money sanctioned under MPLADS scheme right now can be used for infrastructure related projects in one`s constituency while the demand for jobs and skills are the top most priority for people in the constituency of an MP.
"Rs 5 cr/MP/year for constituency infra can be used better," he wrote on social networking site twitter today, giving a link of his letter.
In the letter, Deora has requested the Prime Minister to consider a proposal in the Cabinet to streamline the MPLADS scheme or if that is not administratively feasible, to "replace MPLADS with a new scheme" to allow funds to be provided for skill training and employability of youth in each Parliamentary constituency.
"Each MP can then direct his/her constituents seeking skills and jobs to this initiative and help mobilise youth from their constituency for training and employment. These funds can be directly provided to students upon completion of training and certification in each constituency, thereby removing the potential of misuse...," he said.
He added, "With this we can move away from funds provided to MPs for hard infrastructure projects in constituency to the more important soft infrastructure of skilling and employability, which can have a larger and longer impact on the country."
Deora said that this will also help the country reap the often talked about demographic dividend in the country, paving the way for a more skilled workforce and a productive economy.
"I sincerely hope you will consider my proposal in earnest and help make it a reality," he said.
At the outset, Deora said that in his nearly decade long experience as an elected representative of the Lok Sabha from South Mumbai, he has besieged with daily requests from his constituents for jobs for their children.
"Help with jobs and education are the most requested demands made by my constituents. In my discussions with various MPs across political parties, it appears to be the case with almost all of them - the demand for jobs and skills being the top-most priority for constituents.
"This also sounds logical considering the demographic profile of our nation and the fact that more than half our citizens are below the age of 25, with a strong desire for jobs and a secure future," he said in the letter.
Deora noted that the amount of Rs 5 crore sanctioned to each MP for this scheme can so far only be spent on physical projects in the constituency with execution of this project being led by local administration.
"Invariably due to the large size of the constituency, the complexity of the project execution and the difficulty of overseeing such projects, it causes mis-execution, and in some cases, the potential to misuse these funds through contracts to favourable vendors and other means.
"At the end of all this, the constituents remain dissatisfied and feel that the MPLADS money is not well spent, rightly so," the Minister of State for Communications, Information Technology and Shipping told the Prime Minister in the letter.
Earlier also there have been demands from sections of MPs from various parties to scrap the MPLADS scheme.
Wayback in 2008 amid demands for scrapping the scheme, the then Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee had said that the scheme should be "abolished immediately".
Scrapping of the MPLAD and MLALAD schemes was also recommended in 2009 by the Administrative Reforms Commission, then headed by M Veerappa Moily.