The Centre on Saturday released central share of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to states amid the worsening affects of Covid-19 across all states. The share which amounted Rs 8873.6 crore for the 2021-2022 was given before the normal schedule.
After releasing the fund the Union Finance Ministry said that the states may use 50 per cent of this to curb the dealiest Covid-19 infection and recover themselves from the worst impacts of the disease in the states.
“In relaxation of normal procedure, not only has the release of SDRF been advanced, the amount has also been released without waiting for the utilization certificate of the amount provided to the States in the last financial year. Up to 50% of the amount released i.e. Rs.4436.8 crore can be used by the states for Covid-19 containment measures,” said a statement released by the Finance Ministry.
The decision to release funds comes after the recommendations by the Union Home Ministry. The funds can be used in procuring ventilators, oxygen generation, setting up of storage plants in hospitals, expanding the ambulances serivices and also strengthening the Covid-19 hospitals and care centres, said the centre.
The ministry even advised the states to use the funds in buying thernaml scanners, PPEs, testing kits, testing laboratories and other needy medical consumables.
Many states including Maharashtra had requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release SDRF to battle with the unprecedented disease. In his letter to PM Modi chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had urged him to consider Covid-19 as natural calamity and to release the fund to take up the measures to fight coronavirus.
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik had also sought permissions to utilise the SDRF for taking measures to curb the virus.