New Delhi [India], June 17 (ANI): Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission N. K. Singh and other members on Wednesday held a meeting with Gajendra Singh, Minister of Jal Shakti and his team of officials over the issue of FC grants to Rural Local Bodies for provisions of drinking water and sanitation services.
The terms of reference of the Commission mandates it to recommend "the measures needed to augment the consolidated Fund of a State to supplement the resources of the Panchayats and Municipalities in the State on the basis of recommendations made by the Finance Commission of the State".
The specific concerns of the Commission was "approximately 2.5 lakh Panchayati Raj Institutions which have common issues of Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation and where coordination was required between the Ministry of Panchayati Raj and the Ministry of Jal Shakti along with the States for effective implementation".
"In this context, the Finance Commission needed to understand whether the current experience of the submission of its report 2020-21 and its recommendations on grants for local bodies, was adequate enough to continue this type of grants for 2021-22 to 2025-26 - or there was the requirement for improvement/ modification," read a release from the Finance Commission.
The commission further informed that the Ministry of Panchayati Raj and the Ministry of Jal Shakti had written a combined letter addressed to the States on March 17 on the effective utilization of the 15th Finance Commission grants to rural bodies for providing drinking water and sanitation services.
The letter had highlighted that the 15th Finance Commission in its interim report for the year 2020-21, has identified water supply and sanitation as national priority areas for rural local bodies, and accordingly 50 per cent of Rs. 60,750 crore i.e. Rs. 30,375 crore has been allocated as tied-grants to RLBs.
Fifty per cent of Rs. 60,750 Crore, i.e. Rs. 30,375 Crore has been allocated as tied-grants to RLBs for the supply of drinking water, rainwater harvesting, and water recycling; and sanitation and maintenance of open-defecation free (ODF) status.
"The Ministry also highlighted its post-COVID-19 challenges in meeting the goals of the Jal Jeevan Mission which included the need for capital intensive projects in some water-scarce & water quality affected areas, for achieving drinking water security, etc," read the release.
The release added: "The Chairman assured the fullest support of the Commission for this project in the Finance Commission's last run-up to its final report for the next 5 years i.e. 2021-22 to 2025-26. He also assured that all the suggestions made by the Minister and his team would be given the utmost consideration of the Commission while making their recommendations." (ANI)