Centre releases Rs 8873 crores to States in advance in view of Covid-19
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman
As a special dispensation, The Centre on Saturday released the first instalment of the central share of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) of ₹8873.6 crore for the year 2021-22 ahead of the normal schedule.
While issuing the statement the ministry of finance said that up to 50 per cent of the amount released i.e. Rs 4436.8 crore can be used by the states for COVID-19 containment measures.
“In relaxation of normal procedure, not only has the release of SDRF been advanced, the amount has also been released without waiting for the utilization certificate of the amount provided to the States in the last financial year. Up to 50% of the amount released i.e. Rs.4436.8 crore can be used by the states for Covid-19 containment measures,” the statement said.
The ministry had recommended that the total amount allocated to states can be used for various measures related to containment of Covid-19, including meeting the cost of oxygen generation and storage plants in hospitals, ventilators, air purifiers, strengthening ambulance services, and isolation centres.
This comes at a time when several states have said that they are running out of funds due to financial commitments from the consequences of the pandemic and purchasing Covid vaccines to inoculate people aged between 18- 44 will place additional strain on state finances.
However, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan clarified that the Centre will continue giving vaccine doses from its 50% quota to the states and UTs for free under its recently announced Phase 3 strategy of covid-19 Vaccination.
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