The rural local bodies using the central funds will soon start rainwater harvesting projects and drinking water supply schemes ahead of monsoon. The funds can also be used for improving sanitation, a rural development and panchayat raj official said.
For the year 2020-21, the Centre had earmarked Rs 3607 crores as the local body grant and the basic grant. And under the first instalment Rs 900 crores is released and the director of rural development and Panchayat Raj is authorised to draw and disburse the amount sanctioned, the official said adding that the funds will immediately help 12,525 village panchayats, 388 panchayat unions and 36 district panchayats.
Village panchayats which form the lowest strata of the local body administration will get maximum allocation of 80 per cent funds, official said adding that the Centre has released just one-third amount of the total sanctioned cost.
The Centre could have released at least another Rs 1000 crores as the 15th finance commission has already sanctioned around Rs 3607 crores. “We don’t know when the second instalment is coming and then there will be a deadline coming along with it. Based on performance of local bodies the grants will be revised or reduced next fiscal,” official said.
Meanwhile, Thannatchi, an NGO based in Chennai working on grama sabha governance has started circulating the central basic grant government orders among gram sabha and town panchayat union members so that the funds are utilised at the earliest in a productive manner to empower villages