Centre allocates over Rs 15187 crore for developmental projects in rural areas
This fund is expected to boost effectiveness in delivery of basic services to the rural citizens and would also empower them in providing gainful employment to migrant laborers
To facilitate various developmental projects, including supply of drinking water, rain water harvesting, water recycling and sanitation in rural areas of 28 states in the country, the Centre has provided Rs 15187.50 crore, as grants-in-aid to 2.63 lakh rural local bodies (RLBs).
Giving this information, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Narendra Singh Tomar said that the release of this fund to the RLBs signifies the most appropriate timing when the RLBs are fighting the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
He said availability of this fund with the RLBs will boost their effectiveness in delivery of basic services to the rural citizens and would also empower them in providing gainful employment to migrant laborers who have returned to their native places owing to Covid-19 pandemic situation as well as in augmenting rural infrastructure in a constructive way.
Giving further details, Tomar said this grants-in-aid was part of the Untied Grant as recommended by Fifteenth Finance Commission (XV-FC) for the period FY 2020-21, to be used by RLBs for the location-specific felt needs.
The Fifteenth Finance Commission submitted its interim report for the period FY 2020-21 and the Government of India accepted its recommendations in respect of the Local Bodies.
The Commission has worked out the total size of the grant to be Rs.60,750 crore for the period FY 2020-21 for the Rural Local Bodies (RLBs) which is the highest ever allocation made by the Finance Commission in any single year.
The Commission has recommended Grants-in-aid to all tiers of the Panchayati Raj including the Traditional Bodies of Fifth and Sixth Schedule areas, in 28 States, in two parts, namely, (i) a Basic Grant and (ii) a Tied Grant.
Fifty percent of the grant will be Basic Grant and fifty percent will be the Tied Grant. The basic grants are untied and can be used by RLBs for location-specific felt needs, except for salary or other establishment expenditure.
The Tied Grants are to be used for the basic services of (a) sanitation and maintenance of open-defecation free (ODF) status and (b) supply of drinking water, rain water harvesting and water recycling. The RLBs shall, as far as possible, earmark one half of these Tied Grants each to these two critical services. However, if any RLB has fully saturated the needs of one category it can utilize the funds for the other category.