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Centre releases nearly ₹9,000 crore to panchayats in 25 states

The Department of Expenditure has released an amount of ₹8,923.8 crore in advance to 25 states for providing grants to the Rural Local Bodies (RLBs) because of the coronavirus pandemic, the ministry of finance said on Sunday.

“The amount released on Saturday is the first instalment of the ‘Untied Grants’ for the year 2021-22. It may be utilised by the RLBs, among other things, for various prevention and mitigation measures needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, it will augment resources to the three tiers of Panchayats for fighting the contagion,” Finance Ministry said in a statement.

The grants are meant for all the three tiers of Panchayati Raj Institutions — village, block, and district, the ministry added.

As per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission, the first instalment of untied grants was to be released to the states in June, this year. However, in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic situation and at the recommendation of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, the finance ministry decided to release the grant in advance of the normal schedule.

“The 15th Finance Commission had imposed certain conditions for release of untied grants. The conditions include online availability of accounts of a certain percentage of Rural Local Bodies in the public domain. But taking into consideration the prevailing circumstances, this condition has been waived for release of the first instalment of untied grants,” the Finance Ministry added.

According to the data released by the finance ministry, Uttar Pradesh’s panchayats have received the highest grants of ₹1,441.6 crore, followed by Maharashtra ( ₹881.4 crore), Bihar (741.8 crore), and West Bengal ( ₹652.2 crore).

Panchayats of states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu have received grants of ₹588.8 crore, ₹570.8 crore, and ₹533.2 crore, respectively.

Karnataka’s Rural Local Bodies have received ₹475.4 crore from the central government, while Gujarat has received ₹472.4 crore. Andhra Pradesh received ₹387.8 crore and Odisha ₹333.8 crore. Whereas Telangana ( ₹273 crore), Jharkhand ( ₹249.8 crore), Kerala ( ₹240.6 crore), Assam ( ₹237.2 crore), and Punjab ( ₹205.2 crore) have also received grants for their Rural Local Bodies. Livemint

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