New Delhi: The Finance ministry has released an amount of Rs 8,923.8 crore to the Rural local bodies (RLBs) in 25 States as grants for Covid-19 relief activities.
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 Which is meant to be utilised by the RLBs, among other things, for various prevention and mitigation measures needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
But in view of the surging fresh infections 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.
However, the 15th Finance Commission had imposed certain conditions for release of untied grants including the online availability of accounts of a certain percentage of Rural Local Bodies in the public domain. This condition has also been waived for release of the first installment released now.