Govt amends rules to allow legislators to grant funds for treatment

Opening up a new window for fund utilisation under state legislators' local area development scheme (MLA/MLC LADS), the Department of Rural Development has now introduced allocation of these funds as financial help for victims of accidents or fire mishaps as well as to patients of incurable ailments.

Under the new guidelines issued by the department last week, the legislators can allocate a maximum of Rs 25 lakh per annum from their available fund as help towards the victims of accidents, fire or patients of serious ailments, whose annual income is less than Rs 1 lakh, said Rajiv Kumar, Principal Secretary of Rural Development. "Since the funds under the legislators' LAD scheme has been increased to Rs 1.5 crore, we have opened a new window for utilisation of this fund," he said.

In case of accidents or fire, the legislators can grant a help of Rs 10,000 to victims or their family members and up to Rs 1 lakh to critically injured people in such mishaps. For serious incurable disease, the legislators can extend a maximum financial help of Rs 5 lakh per case. The verification of the legislator's recommendation is to be done by a committee formed under the chairmanship of respective district magistrate within seven days of the recommendation.

Among the incurable disease, the department has included treatment of ailments like cancer through radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery; cardiac problems and their treatment including pacemaker, vascular surgery as well as heart transplantation; nephrology and urology related diseases including treatment like dialysis and kidney as well as liver transplantation; orthopedic diseases treatment including artificial prosthesis for limbs, replacement of joints, external fixators and other implants and thalassemia treatment including blood transfusion and bone marrow transplantation.

However, the beneficiaries of the funds will have to provide an affidavit that he or she is not getting similar benefits from Chief Minister's discretionary funds or Chief Minister's Arogya Nidhi or under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY - the health insurance scheme for people living below the poverty line).

"This is only to ensure that there is no duplicacy in the scheme and the same beneficiary does not get funds from more than one source. If a person has got benefit under RSBY, the amount he has already received will be deducted from the grant given from the legislator's funds," explained Kumar.

Earlier, the government had changed certain norms of the legislator's local area development scheme and increased the amount up to Rs 1.5 crore, putting a cap of Rs 25 lakh on each proposal funded under the scheme. The new guidelines also made it difficult for the members of state assembly and council to get their funds allotted to such societies or trusts wherein they themselves or their family members are holding posts.

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