Rabindra Mishra takes strong exception to revival of Parliamentary Development Fund

The 50 million pork barrel fund for each electoral constituency that the government revived through the budget on Monday was known for blatant misuse and policy corruption.

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Kathmandu: The Senior Vice President of Rastriya Prajantantra Party Rabindra Mishra has opposed the parliamentary development fund revived by the government through the budget unveiled on Monday. He has described this fund as part of policy corruption. “I lost the election by 125 votes but I had strongly opposed such fund during the election campaign and promised that I would not take such fund if I became the lawmaker,” Mishra said. 

Finance Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat revived the fund during the budget speech on Monday, granting Rs 50 million to each electoral constituency, eight billion rupees in total, which is largely spent on the discretion of the respective lawmakers.  Following widespread criticism of such a provision, the government in the fiscal year 2021-2022 had discontinued the fund.

“Barring exceptions, the lawmakers will keep mum about it for it benefits them,” Mishra said.  Mishra has said that with eight billion rupees as many as 16 50-bed hospitals of international standards could be built. “My doctor friends say with eight billion as many as 16 50-bed hospitals of international standards can be built. My architect friends say at least 30 schools of Budhanilakantha model can be constructed with that money.”

“Now with the lawmakers who look to reap benefits from the policy corruption of Parliamentary Development Fund will mobilize that money in their constituencies to enable them to win the elections,” Mishra noted.

Lawmakers from ruling parties as well as main opposition CPN-UML, whose leader Bishnu Paudel actually discontinued the fund when he was the finance minister in 2022, have maintained conspicuous silence about the revival of the controversial fund. However, lawmakers like Sumana Shrestha from Rastriya Swatantra Pary (RSP) have consistently spoken against such fund.