KOCHI: To strengthen the fight against COVID, the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, has allocated Rs 240 crore to the state. This is part of the total Rs 8,923.80 crore allocated for 25 states. As per the statement issued by the Centre, the state can allocate the amount as a grant to rural local bodies (RLBs).
The grant is meant for all the three tiers of Panchayati Raj institutions -- village, block and district. It can be utilised by RLBs for various prevention and mitigation measures needed to combat the pandemic. The ministry's statement said the amount released is the first instalment of the 'united grants' for 2021-22 which was supposed to be released to states in June.
"However, given the COVID crisis and on the recommendation of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, the Finance Ministry has decided to release the grant in advance of the normal schedule. It will augment the resources to the three tiers of panchayats for fighting the contagion," according to the official statement.
"Moreover, the 15th Finance Commission had imposed certain conditions for release of united grants. The conditions include online availability of accounts of a certain percentage of RLBs in the public domain. However, taking into consideration the prevailing circumstances, this condition has been waived for release of the first instalment of funds," it added.
Neighbouring states Tamil Nadu will get Rs 533.2 crore and Karnataka Rs 475.4 crore as first instalment. Among other states, Uttar Pradesh will get Rs 1,441.6 crore, Maharashtra Rs 861.4 crore and West Bengal Rs 652.2 crore.