Bihar gets Rs 1,112.7 crore central grant for rural local bodies

The central government has released Rs 1,112.7 crore as grant-in-aid to Bihar for providing grants to the rural local bodies. This grant-in-aid is the second installment of tied grants to the State of Bihar, according to data released by the Union Finance Ministry.

The local body grants are meant to ensure additional funds to rural local bodies over and above the funds allocated by the Centre and the State for sanitation and drinking water under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes.

The 15th Finance Commission recommended tied grants are released to rural local bodies (RLBs) on the recommendations of the Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation for making improvements on two critical services namely (a) Sanitation and maintenance of open-defecation free (ODF) status and (b) supply of drinking water, rain water harvesting and water recycling.

Untied grants are released to the rural local bodies on the recommendations of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj after satisfying the conditions stipulated by the 15th Finance Commission.

Out of the total grant-in-aid earmarked for Panchayati Raj institutions, 60 per cent is earmarked for national priorities like drinking water supply, rainwater harvesting and sanitation (referred as tied grants), while 40 per cent is untied and is to be utilised at the discretion of the Panchayati Raj institutions for location specific felt needs.

In order to be eligible for grants during the years 2021-22 and 2022-23, the rural local bodies have to fulfill certain conditions. These conditions have been stipulated to enhance transparency, regular conduct of elections to the local bodies and preparation of annual development plans by the local bodies.

To receive both tied and untied grants, it is mandatory to prepare and make available online, in the public domain by at least 25 percent of the local bodies, both provisional accounts of the previous year and the audited accounts of the year before previous year.  Moreover, the accounts must be uploaded on eGramswaraj and Audit Online portal.  The grant is released only to those local bodies which are duly elected.

In addition, to be eligible to receive tied grant, Rural Local bodies shall upload development plans on eGramSwaraj containing details of Annual Action Plan for Sanitation and Drinking Water Supply.  Annual Action Plan for Drinking Water Supply shall include details about Supply of drinking water, rain water harvesting and water recycling.  Annual Action Plan for Sanitation shall include the status & maintenance of ODF and planning and implementation of SLWM interventions in the local body. 

Local bodies must also upload the details of utilization 15th Finance Commissission funds [both components] on the website. The States are required to transfer the grants to the local bodies within 10 working days of receipt from the Union Government.  Any delay beyond 10 working days requires the State Governments to release the grants with interest.

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