NEW DELHI: As state governments continue to step up efforts to contain the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak and treat the affected, the Centre has approved Rs 17,287 crore under Disaster Management Relief Fund and revenue deficit grant to financially empower them.
“The finance ministry today released a total of Rs 17,287.08 crore to different states to enhance their financial resources during the Covid-19 crisis. This includes Rs 6,195.08 crore on account of ‘revenue deficit grant’ under 15th Finance Commission recommendations to 14 states,” Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted on Friday.
The states that would be assigned the Rs 6,195.08 crore revenue deficit grant include Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Punjab.
The remaining Rs 11,092 crore is for all states as an advance payment of the Central share of the first installment of State Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRMF), as sanctioned by the Union home ministry.
The fund can be utilised to set up quarantine facilities; collect and screen samples; set up additional testing laboratories; purchase personal protection equipment for healthcare, municipal, police and fire authorities; purchase thermal scanners, ventilators, air purifiers and consumables for government hospitals.
The release of grants came a day after the chief ministers, in their video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, sought additional grants to effectively contain the transmission of coronavirus.
The CMs of Rajasthan, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh appealed the Centre to relax their borrowing capacities to 5 per cent of the GDP, as they would need additional amount of loans to meet the expenditure in wake of the health crisis.They also appealed to the PM to ensure early release of their share of the GST.