The central government has released Rs 8,923.8 crore to 25 states for providing grants to the Rural Local Bodies (RLBs). The grants are meant for all the three tiers of Panchayati Raj Institutions –village, block and district. Of the Rs 8,923.8 crore, Uttar Pradesh has been alloted Rs 1441.6 crore, followed by Maharashtra with Rs 861.4 crore, Bihar with Rs 741.8 crore, West Bengal with Rs 652.2 crore, Madhya Pradesh with Rs 588.8 crore, Rajasthan with Rs 570.8 crore, Tamil Nadu with Rs 533.2 crore, Karnataka with Rs 475.4 crore, Gujarat with Rs 472.4 crore, Andhra Pradesh with Rs 387.8 crore, Odisha with Rs 333.8 crore, Telangana with Rs 273 crore, Jharkhand with Rs 249.8 crore, Assam with Rs 237.2 crore and Punjab with Rs 205.2 crore.
According to the Department of Expenditure, the amount released on Saturday was the first instalment of the untied grants for the year 2021-22. It would be utilised by the RLBs, among other things, for various prevention and mitigation measures needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. This is expected to augment resources of the three panchayat tiers.
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 and at the recommendation of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, the Ministry of Finance has decided to release the grant in advance.
Moreover, the 15th Finance Commission had imposed certain conditions for the release of untied grants. The conditions include online availability of accounts of a certain percentage of RLBs in the public domain. But taking into consideration the prevailing circumstances, this condition has been waived for the release of the first instalment.