Finance ministry releases Rs 4,608 cr for local bodies

NEW DELHI, 2 Apr: The expenditure department of the ministry of finance on Wednesday released Rs 4,608 crore to the states for providing grants-in-aid to the local bodies.

The grants are both for the rural local bodies (RLB) and urban local bodies (ULB). Out of this, RLBs will get Rs 2,660 crore and ULBs will get Rs 1,948 crore. The grants have been released as per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission.

In the 2020-21 financial year, the ministry of finance has released a total amount of Rs 87,460 crore to 28 states as local body grants. Out of this, Rs 60,750 crore have been released for RLBs while Rs 26,710 crore have been released for ULBs.

The RLB grants are meant for all the tiers in the panchayat – village, block and district, as well as for 5th and 6th schedule areas in the states. RLB grants are partly basic/untied and partly tied in nature. The basic grants can be used by RLBs for location-specific felt needs.

On the other hand, tied grants can only be used for the basic services of sanitation and maintenance of open defecation-free status and supply of drinking water, rainwater harvesting and water recycling.

In 2020-21, basic RLB grant of Rs 32,742.50 crore and tied RLB grant of Rs 28,007.50 crore have been released by the ministry.

ULB grants have been provided in two categories – grants for million plus cities and grants for non-million plus cities. While million plus cities have been provided grant of Rs 8,357 crore, non-million plus cities have got Rs 18,354 crore from the ministry in 2020-21.

In case of million-plus cities, an amount of Rs 1,824 crore was released on Wednesday. The entire grant to million plus cities is tied in nature.

To receive these grants, the million plus cities are required to develop city-wise and areas-wise targets on ambient air quality based on annual average concentrations of PM 10 and PM 2.5.

In case of non million-plus cities, an amount of Rs 18,354 crore has been released as grant-in-aid in 2020-21. Fifty percent of this is basic grant while the remaining 50 percent is tied to drinking water (including rainwater harvesting and recycling) and solid waste management. This amount is in addition to the funds provided under various centrally sponsored schemes like Swachh Bharat Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, etc.

The states are required to transfer the grants to the local bodies within 10 working days. Any delay beyond this period makes the state government liable to release the grants with interest to the local bodies. (PIB)