Legislators get one more tranche of fund

Under pressure from legislators, the Finance Department has approved release of another tranche of ₹50 lakh under the Karnataka Legislators Local Area Development (KLLAD) programme.

The legislators had vented their ire before Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa over lack of funds for works in their constituencies during the two-day meeting of party MLAs that concluded on Tuesday.

The release of ₹150 crore for the legislators fund in the third tranche this week will provide ₹1.5 crore in total to the legislators under KLLAD programme this financial year.

In November, the Finance Department released the second tranche of ₹50 lakh and asked action plans to be made for a total budget of ₹1 crore. The State government, under financial strain due to COVID-19, had decided to slash the KLLAD fund to ₹1 crore in September while releasing the first instalment of ₹50 lakh. The annual grant under KLLAD is ₹2 crore, which totals to ₹600 crore for 225 MLAs and 75 MLCs per annum.

Government sources said that as pressure mounted on the Chief Minister to increase annual allocation to the constituencies, the Finance Department under him had been instructed to increase the allocation by ₹50 lakh.

New action plan

The department has also allowed new action plan for 2020-21. In earlier memos, the department, which had tightened purse strings, had directed the district administration to refrain from new projects and focus on completion of works. It, however, has said that ₹50 lakh would be released only after the utilisation of funds released to the constituency so far. A senior official said that though the funds under KLLAD had been released, many legislators were yet to submit action plans for this year even as just about 60 legislators have submitted action plan for 2019-20. “We are unable to understand why the fund utilisation has been so low, while legislators demand release of more funds,” he said.

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