New Delhi, August 31 (UNI): In line with the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission, the Centre on Tuesday released Rs 13,385.70 crore as grant-in-aid to rural local bodies (RLBs) in 25 states, including Meghalaya.
The funds will help the RLBs improve services in the areas of drinking water supply, rainwater harvesting and sanitation.
“This Grant-in-aid is the first instalment of tied grants of the year 2021-22,” said the Finance Ministry in an official statement.
Tied grants are released to the RLBs for improving two critical services, namely sanitation and maintenance of open-defecation free (ODF) status, and supply of drinking water, rain water harvesting and water recycling.
Tied grants are meant to ensure availability of additional funds to the rural local bodies over and above the funds allocated by the Centre and the State for sanitation and drinking water under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
The states are required to transfer the grants to the RLBs within 10 working days of their receipt from the Union government. Any delay beyond 10 working days requires the state governments to release the grants with interest.
Of the total grant-in-aid allocated for Panchayati Raj institutions, 60% is tied grant. It’s earmarked for national priorities like drinking water supply, rainwater harvesting and sanitation. Remaining 40% is untied grant and is to be utilised at the discretion of the Panchayati Raj institutions for location specific needs, except for payment of salaries.
“Total grant amounting to Rs 25,129.98 crore (has been) released to Rural Local bodies so far in 2021-22,” the Finance Ministry said.