Hyderabad: The Rajya Sabha membership for celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar and Rekha has become so ornamental that they do not even bother to make use of crores of rupees they get under MP Local Area Development Fund for the betterment of poor.
These members anyway scored duck in discharging other responsibilities like raising questions, seeking assurances from the government and participating in debates.
A click on the profile of the two members in the official website of Rajya Sabha shows no questions (were) asked by them, no special mention is made by them and no data is found (with regard to assurances given to me by govt).
In to the second year of their six-year term, the two MPs did not recommend a single work contrary to their counterparts in the nominated category who made good use of funds for public works. Under MPLADS each Parliament member including the nominated members is entitled for Rs 5 cr each every year.
Notwithstanding criticism that funds are misused there are also living examples of these funds changing lives particularly among rural poor when spent judiciously by the MPs in fields of education, sanitation, drinking water supply and other amenities.
Unlike the regular politicians, the nominated members will not have any political compulsions and can ensure that the funds are spent for the needy. According to the website both Tendulkar and Rekha have so far been entitled for Rs 10 cr each but they did not recommend any work because of which the government did not sanction any amount.
While Tendulkar chose to adopt Mumbai Suburban to spend his MPLAD funds, Rekha did not even gave her choice of district where the funds could be spent. She neither utilised the exclusive opportunity of spending MPLAD anywhere in the country as nominated member.
The celebrities, however, chose to remain apolitical by not officially affiliating themselves to any political party. Of the 11 nominated members only two – Mani Shankar Aiyar and Dr Balachandra Mungekar – became affiliate members of Congress.
Another celebrity lyricist Javed Akthar, though failed to avail the opportunity to raise issues concerning the country, at least recommended works of Rs 10.17 crore in Mumbai Suburban of which Rs 1.54 cr was spent.
Other nominated members like Ashok Ganguly and H.K. Dua not only raised several issues and got assurances from the government but have been making use of the MPLAD funds as well.
Former nominated member from Mumbai and noted singer Lata Mangeshkar fared better than Tendulkar and Rekha for she not only recommended works but ensured that the amounts are spent.
As per the latest data she recommended works of Rs 14 cr (the entitlement was only Rs 12 cr because the annual amount under the fund was Rs 2 cr when she was MP) of which Rs 12.37 cr were released and Rs 8.62 cr were spent.