The Finance ministry has released an amount of Rs 8,923.8 crore to 25 States as grants to the Rural Local Bodies (RLBs).
The grants are meant for all the three tiers of Panchayati Raj Institutions – village, block and district.
The amount released on Saturday is the first instalment of the ‘Untied Grants’ for the year 2021-22. It is meant to 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.
As per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission, the first instalment of untied grants was to be released to the States in the month of June, 2021. However, in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation and at the recommendation of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, the Ministry of Finance decided to release the grant in advance of the normal schedule, a finance ministry statement said.
Moreover, 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.