Based on 15th Finance Commission's recommendations, the grant will help the beneficiary states to undertake air quality measures, including capacity-building of the local bodies within their million-plus cities/agglomerations
The states shall transfer grants-in-aid directly to all these local bodies within ten working days of receipt
The central government on Monday, based on the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission, has released ₹2,200 crore as the first instalment to 15 states for the improvement of air quality measures in their million-plus cities, announced Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The grant will "help the beneficiary states to undertake air quality measures, including capacity-building of the local bodies within their million-plus cities/agglomerations," Sitharaman added.
The states (State Finance Department) shall transfer grants-in-aid directly to all these local bodies, which include cities like Lucknow, Visakhapatnam, Kolkata etc, within ten working days of receipt from the Union Government without any deduction, the ministry said in a statement.
"Any delay beyond ten working days will require the State Governments to release the same with interest as per the effective rate of interest on market borrowings/State Development Loans (SDLs) for the previous year," it further added.
The local bodies in the list shall entrust one urban local body as a nodal entity to receive the grants. This nodal entity shall also have the responsibility of achieving the performance indicators for the entire urban agglomeration, the ministry's statement said.
The grant, the finance ministry states, is "intended to be utilized for air quality improvement measures, including capacity building of the local bodies within the city/agglomeration, as well as meeting the additional needs of State Pollution Control Boards to appropriately assist the local bodies in monitoring the ambient air quality."
Meanwhile, pollution levels in Delhi dipped on Monday with high wind speed aiding dispersion of pollutants, even as farm fires continued to rage in neighbouring states.
The city recorded a 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of 293, which falls in the 'poor' category.
The 15th Finance Commission will submit its report for fiscal years 2021-22 to 2025-26 to President Ram Nath Kovind on November 9, an official statement said.
The commission under Chairman N K Singh on 30 October, concluded its deliberations on the report. The report was signed by Singh and members of the commission -- Ajay Narayan Jha, Anoop Singh, Ashok Lahiri and Ramesh Chand.
The commission will also present a copy of the report to Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this month.
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