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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 20 June 2021 7.03 PM IST

Centre releases Rs 8,873 crore for SDRF, lets states use 50% for Covid-19 relief

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NEW DELHI: The Centre on Saturday released the first instalment of the central share of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) of Rs 8873.6 crore for the year 2021-22 ahead of the normal schedule. The government said that the states can use up to 50% of the amount for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) containment measures, according to a statement released by the Union ministry of finance.

“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,” the statement said.

The decision to release the funds was made based on the recommendations made by the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA). The government said that the funds can be utilised to meet the cost of oxygen generation and storage plants in hospitals, procurement of ventilators, strengthening ambulance services as well as Covid-19 hospitals and Covid-19 care centres.

The Centre also advised the states to use the funds for purchasing consumables, thermal scanners, personal protective equipment, testing laboratories, and testing kits.

Several states requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release SDRF funds so that they could take measures to address the challenges posed by the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray in his letter to PM Modi urged him to consider the pandemic as a natural calamity and asked the Centre’s permission to use SDRF for helping pandemic-hit people.

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik also requested the Centre to allow 50% of the annual allocation of SDRF earmarked for the state earlier this month. Punjab chief minister during the online meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with all chief ministers of states and Union territories hard-hit by Covid-19 sought permission for the use of the SDRF funds for vaccine procurement.

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TAGS: CENTRE, RS 8873 CRORE, SDRF, STATES, COVID 19 RELIEF, SDRF FUND, UNION MINISTRY OF FINANCE, MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS
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