Parliamentarians can use the funds allotted to them under the Members of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) Scheme for buying testing kits and other equipment required to detect and contain coronavirus.
The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, which is responsible for the implementation of the scheme, amended the rules following repeated demands from the MPs of various parties.
Each member of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha gets ₹5 crore a year under the scheme. The sum can be spent only on creating permanent structures and not on perishables.
The Ministry has said in the order that the funds can be used by the district authorities for “testing, screening and other facilities required to detect and contain COVID-19”. It has allowed a one-time dispensation to buy infra-red thermometers, personal protection equipment and sanitisers for medical personnel, thermal imaging scanners or cameras, testing kits approved by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, ventilators for intensive care units and construction of isolation wards.
Hours later, many MPs have set aside a part of their funds for buying the equipment.
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