Till now, there were no explicit norms regarding the allotment of fund to any society or trust, which mentioned that relatives of legislators could not be a part of the society, said Rajiv Kumar, Principal Secretary of Rural Development. In the revised rules, the ambiguity has been removed and the definition of family members made clear, said Kumar.
Now, a legislator can propose various works under this scheme in a financial year, but a cap of Rs 25 lakh has been put on each of these proposals. As of now, Rs 1.5 crore is allotted to each member of legislative assembly and council. Kumar said that the guidelines for the utilisation of the funds are being prepared and will be ready within 10 days.
A legislator cannot recommend that the funds be allotted to any such society or trust where either the legislator or his or her family member is holding a post. Even if such society or trust has received funds under the scheme in the past, they cannot be recommended for further work. Family, as defined by the rules, includes legisator’s father, mother, brother or sister, children, grand children and their spouse as well as the in-laws.
As an exception, such a trust or society working in the field of medical and health or education and is notified by the state government, where the legislator or family member is holding an honorary post without salary, can be given allocated funds, but the decision to provide “relaxation from contextual restriction” is with the Speaker of the house, who himself or through a committee formed by him, can take a decision on such cases.
To usher further transparency, the department has also decided to upload the details of the MLA/MLC funds, including the work done and progress in each work executed under the scheme on the internet for public scrutiny. “The website for uploading the details is being developed,” said Kumar. The site is to be developed by National Informatics Centre.