To ensure that the basic services provided by local bodies are not affected amid coronavirus scare, the Centre has released Rs 5,140.15 crore pending instalment of the grants to six states under the 14th Finance Commission that had been withheld pending local bodies elections.
This includes Andhra Pradesh, where the ruling YSRCP had been crying foul over the postponement of the state's local body polls.
"Due to #COVID2019, the local bodies have to especially focus on providing basic civic services and ensure cleanliness. The amounts to Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu have been released for urban and rural local bodies wherever applicable," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a tweet.
"The amount released totals Rs Rs 2,570.0813 crore, with Rs 940.8063 crore for rural local bodies and Rs 1,629.275 crore for urban local bodies. The amounts have already been credited to the accounts of the respective State governments," another tweet said.
Due to #COVID2019, the local bodies have to especially focus on providing basic civic services and ensure cleanliness. The amounts to Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu have been released for urban and rural local bodies wherever applicable pic.twitter.com/rx0RBa32GG— NSitharamanOffice (@nsitharamanoffc) March 21, 2020
Tamil Nadu will be the biggest beneficiary as its urban local bodies will get Rs 987.85 crore followed by Andhra Pradesh which will get Rs 431 crore and Odisha Rs 186.58 crore.
After the State Election Commission decided to postpone the polls in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ruling YSRCP government had claimed that this move would stall the 14th Finance Commission grants from the Centre to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore for local bodies.
"The release of basic grant is on a more flexible terrain and performance grant has different parameters. But since Andhra Pradesh is not alone in the present situation, the states, in a similar situation, can make a common pleading. On my part, I will vouch for the state's and our collective efforts," State Election Commissioner Ramesh Kumar had said in response to the claim, in a letter to the Chief Secretary.