Those not taking salary be kept off office of profit issue: VP Singh
New Delhi, Mar 29 (UNI) Joining the chorus of bringing consensus on the issue of 'office of profit', former Prime Minister V P Singh today said the root of the ''mess'' was the MPLADS Fund, which was draining the exchequer to the tune of nearly 30,000 crore and should be scrapped.
Advocating that unanimity on 'office of profit' issue was necessary to clear the air of uncertaininty hovering over the political horizon, Mr Singh said those not drawing any salary from the office, they were holding, should be 'exempted' from the controversy.
''I believe those not drawing salary, like Ms Jaya Bachchan, should not be considered as holding an office of profit. This much leeway should be given in the matter.'' The main culprit is the Local Area Development fund of Rs two crore each parliamentarian was getting, along with the Rs one crore each MLA was drawing, under the scheme, he said.
''The total amount, when calculated over the hundreds of MPs and MLAs, comes to an astontishing sum of Rs 6,000 crore annually which taken over a Lok Sabha term shoots up to a mind-boggling Rs 30,000 crore.'' And this fund money was mostly being misused, except for in some quarters in Southern states, he said.
''This was a big loss to the state exchequer and should be scrapped.'' Expressing surprise over the 'lack of transparency' in the Indo-US nuclear deal, Mr Singh said as per reports India could not go for a nuclear explosion which was almost like signing the NPT.
''Reports say that any 'explosion' by India would render the 'treaty' defunct and make the import of capital intensive infrastructure of nuclear plants useless.'' The government should clarify its stand on this because if this was true we are tied to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), he explained.
''Our best bet is converting plutonium to thorium, which was abundant in our country.'' Infact we must concentrate more on alternate sources for our energy needs and the resources we already have aplenty like hydro and thermal power, he said adding that if Brazil could make a business with alcohol, which would be good for farmers and is a renewable source of energy, why can't we do it.
UNI AN MSJ HT1722