The Union Cabinet has cleared an ordinance that suspends the MPLADs (Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) funds for two years. The MPLADs fund has been suspended till 2022, said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday.
The minister added that Rs 7,900 crore from the MPLADS scheme will be transferred Consolidated Fund of India, the main bank account of the government. The Consolidated Fund of India is referred to the total revenue collected by the government through taxes and expenses incurred in the form of borrowings and loans.
The move is marked as a part of the government’s efforts for addressing the challenges in the fight against COVID-19. The fund will now be used for purchasing of equipments for government hospitals and dispensaries, medical testing and screening of patients and also setting up other related facilities.
As per the amendments to MPLADS guidelines, MPs can now utilise funds under MPLADS for the following:
- Infra-Red thermometers (Non-contact) to help doctors and medical personnel for recording and track a person’s temperature.
- Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Kits for keeping the medical personnel well-protected and enable them to function efficiently by minimising the risk of transmission.
- Thermal imaging scanners or cameras for railway stations, airports and other entry points for allowing detecting of temperature from a safe distance.
- CORONA testing kits approved by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- ICU Ventilator and Isolation/ Quarantine Wards within their approved facilities.
- Face masks, gloves and sanitisers for medical personnel.
- Any other medical equipment recommended by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for prevention, control and treatment of COVID-19.
The Union Cabinet has also cleared the ordinance to cut the salary of members of the parliament by 30 percent for a year. This includes Prime Minister Narendra Modi and all central ministers.
The Cabinet has taken this decision in wake of coronavirus pandemic in India and its foreseen impact on the economy.
Besides, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and all state Governors have voluntarily decided to take a 30 percent salary cut.