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Rashmi Ranjan

New Delhi: New Delhi: The Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, on Saturday, released Rs. 8,923.8 crore to 25 States including Rs 333.8 crore to Odisha 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, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The amount released on Saturday is the first instalment of the ‘Untied Grants’ for the year 2021-22. It may be utilised by the RLBs, among other things, for various prevention and mitigation measures needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, it will augment resources to the three tiers of Panchayats for fighting the contagion. The state-wise amount of the grant released is enclosed.

As per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission, the 1st 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 situation and at the recommendation of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, the Ministry of Finance has decided to release the grant in advance of the normal schedule.

Moreover, the 15th Finance Commission had imposed certain conditions for release of untied grants. The conditions include online availability of accounts of a certain percentage of Rural Local Bodies in the public domain. But taking into consideration the prevailing circumstances, this condition has been waived for release of the first instalment of untied grants.

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