The 15th Finance Commission has tied grants of Rs 1,42,084 crore to ensure more funds to gram panchayats to make their water supply and sanitation-related plans, the Ministry of Jal Shakti said on Sunday.
The Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance has issued the guidelines for release and utilisation of grants recommended by the 15th Finance Commission (FC) for RLBs/PRIs during the period 2021-22 to 2025-26, it said.
The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti will act as the nodal department for determining the eligibility of rural local bodies for the "15th FC tied grant for water and sanitation" and recommend the release of tied grant for this purpose.
"The Rs 1,42,084 crore tied grant to rural local bodies (RLBs)/panchayats for water and sanitation from 2021-22 to 2025-26, which has been recommended by the 15th Finance Commission, will have a huge impact on ensuring these services in villages and thus on public health and quality of life in rural areas," the Jal Shakti ministry said.
"The 15th Finance Commission tied grants will ensure more funds to gram panchayats to make their water supply and sanitation-related plans implemented and these panchayats can function as local 'public utilities' with a focus on 'service delivery'," it added.
DDWS has recommended for the release of the first installment of the tied grant to 25 states for water and sanitation activities.
With Rs 50,000 crore budgetary support by the Centre, Rs 30,000 crore state's share for Jal Jeevan Mission and this year's allocation of Rs 28,000 crore under the 15th FC tied grant, more Rs 1 lakh crore fund is available for making provision of piped water supply in villages. This will gave a huge impact to the rural economy, it added.
In all, the 15th Finance Commission had recommended Rs 2,36,805 crore to RLBs/PRIs for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26, it added.
The Commission also identified 'water supply and sanitation' as national priority areas, which determine the quality of life of people living in rural areas.
It has recommended 60 per cent of the allocation to RLBs/ panchayats, that is, Rs 1,42, 084 crore as tied grant to be utilised for supply of drinking water, rainwater harvesting and water recycling, and sanitation and maintenance of open-defecation free (ODF) status.