Centre Releases Rs 17,287 Crore As States Seek Funds To Fight Covid-19
A laboratory technician cleans sterile coronavirus swab storage boxes. (Photographer: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg)

Centre Releases Rs 17,287 Crore As States Seek Funds To Fight Covid-19

The central government has released Rs 17,287 crore after several states complained of inadequacy of funds to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The amount includes Rs 11,092 crore as advance payment of the first instalment of central government’s share in State Disaster Response Mitigation Fund to states, according to a government notification.

This comes at a time when several states have asked the central government to clear their pending dues, for them to provide relief to poor and migrant workers who have been impacted the most after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day national lockdown.

Some states like Kerala have asked the centre to increase their state borrowing limit from the current 3 percent of gross state domestic product. The Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday increased the ways and means limit—limit for short-term credit that states can borrow from the central bank—by 30 percent from existing threshold for all states and union territories.

Also read: Coronavirus India Updates: Total Covid-19 Cases At 2,547, Death Toll At 62

The Fifteenth Finance Commission had recommended creation of funds for disaster mitigation along with disaster response-National Disaster Risk Management Fund and State Disaster Risk Management Funds. The commission had recommended that the total amount allocated to states for SDRMF will be Rs 28,983 crore in 2020-21, out of which the central government’s share would be Rs 22,184 crore.

The amount will help states to enhance their financial resources during the Covid-19 crisis, according to a tweet by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s office.

Out of Rs 17,287 crore, about Rs 6,195 crore has been disbursed to fourteen states, including Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Kerala, as “revenue deficit grant” under 15th Finance Commission’s recommendations.

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