The Centre on Friday released Rs 17,287.08 crore to states in revenue deficit grants and state disaster response mitigation fund (SDRMF) for 2020-21, to help them deal with the Covid-19 crisis.
This comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a videoconference with chief ministers on ways to tackle the escalating number of cases in the country. The amount released by the finance ministry
is a fraction of what states have been demanding, in financial support as well as clearance of pending dues. Central government officials say there is understandably a resource crunch, but more will be given.
“The Finance Ministry
released Rs 17,287.08 crore to different states to enhance their financial resources during the Covid-19 crisis. This includes Rs 6,195.08 crore on account of ‘revenue deficit grants’ under 15th Finance Commission recommendations to 14 states,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
said on one of her two official Twitter accounts. “These states are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal. The remaining Rs 11,092 crore is to all states as advance payment of the Central share of first instalment of SDRMF,” she said.
Chief ministers and state finance ministers have written to the Centre seeking funds to deal with the pandemic as well as pending amounts, whether under devolution, grants, share of central schemes or GST compensation
Maharashtra had sought a special package worth Rs 25,000 crore from the Centre and asked it to release pending dues worth Rs 16,654 crore under various heads by March 31, to fight the economic crisis stemming from the Covid-19 outbreak. Tamil Nadu has sought a special assistance of Rs 4,000 crore and other financial support. West Bengal has asked for a package of Rs 25,000 crore and clearance of dues worth Rs 36,000 crore.