Bhubaneswar: The Union Finance Ministry has released Rs 8,923.80 crore to 25 states including Odisha for providing grants to the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of these funds, Odisha has received Rs 333.80 crore. Uttar Pradesh has received the maximum assistance of Rs 1441.60 crore followed by Maharashtra (Rs 861.40 crore), Bihar (Rs 741.80 crore) and West Bengal (Rs 652.20 crore).
The amount released by the ministry’s Department of Expenditure on Saturday is the first instalment of the untied grants for 2021-22. These funds may be utilised by the PRIs, among other things, for various prevention and mitigation measures against COVID-19.
As per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission, the first instalment of the untied grants was to be released to the states in June 2021. However, in view of the ongoing pandemic situation and at the recommendation of the Panchayati Raj Ministry, the Finance Ministry has decided to release the grant in advance.
It may be mentioned that the 15thFinance Commission had imposed certain conditions for the release of the untied grants. The conditions include online availability of accounts of a certain percentage of PRIS in the public domain.
However, taking into consideration the prevailing circumstances, this condition has been waived for the release of the first instalment of the untied grants.