Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. (File Image)
The Ministry of Finance, on May 9, said it had released Rs 8,923 crore to 25 states for providing grants to the rural local bodies to be spent on prevention and mitigation measures needed to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, on May 8 released an amount of Rs 8,923.8 crore to 25 states 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," Finance Ministry said in an official statement.
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It may be utilised by the RLBs, among other things, for various prevention and mitigation measures needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and will augment their resources, it added.
As per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission, the first instalment of 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, the ministry added.
India recorded 4,03,738 fresh COVID-19 cases in a day, which pushed the tally to 2,22,96,414, according to the Union health ministry data updated on May 9.
The death toll climbed to 2,42,362 with 4,092 daily deaths, the data updated at 8 am showed. Registering a steady increase, the active cases have increased to 37,36,648.
Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi are among 10 states that account for 71.75 percent of the new COVID-19 cases, the Union Health Ministry said.Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak