Rs 50 million to each of 165 constituencies will be mobilized through MPs concerned
KATHMANDU, May 31: After the budget revived the controversial Constituency Development Fund (CDF), the government made attempts to save the blushes by saying that the money to be allocated under the heading will not be misused.
Presenting the budget for the FY 2023/24, Finance Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat said that the government has allocated Rs 50 million to each of the 165 constituencies under the 'Parliamentary Infrastructure Development Program'. Although the government’s initiative has been given a new name, it is of the similar modality of the CDF, analysts said.
Mahat revived the program that was outdated by the then Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel two years ago. This program was largely criticized on the grounds that the parliament members channelize funds to the so-called “consumers’ groups,” which are made up of party members, loyalists, and supporters in their constituencies.
Speaking at a press meet organized at the Ministry of Finance (MoF) on Tuesday, Finance Minister Mahat said there would not be major roles of the Member of Parliament in the program. “The role of the MPs is just to recommend the projects concerned, while the implementation part will be undertaken by the line ministries,” Mahat said.
Mahat made an excuse by presenting the cases in the United States, where according to him, individual lawmakers are provided with a certain amount of money to develop their areas. “It should not be taken as just distributing money unproductively,” Mahat said.
The budget has allocated a total of Rs 8.25 billion to implement the program. Under the program, funds of Rs 10 million will be disbursed for any one project related to road, irrigation, drinking water, education, health, tourism, sports and physical infrastructure. However, the fund to be disbursed under individual heading instead of investing lump sum under the integrated projects may not yield fruitful outcomes.
The concept of 'Infrastructure Development Fund' was started when Sushil Koirala was the prime minister. The fund was later renamed 'Parliamentary Development Fund' and 'Local Infrastructure Development Partnership Program'.