The central government, on recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission, released Rs2,200 crores for Air Pollution as the first installment to 15 states for the improvement of air quality measures.
The grant would “help the beneficiary states to undertake air quality measures, including capacity-building of the local bodies within their million-plus cities,” Nirmala Sitharaman added.
The state’s finance department shall transfer grants-in-aid directly to all these local bodies, including cities like Visakhapatnam, Kolkata, and Lucknow, etc., within ten working days of receipt from the Union Government without any deduction.
Any delay beyond ten working days would require State Governments to release same with interest as per effective rate of interest on market borrowings for the previous year,” it further stated.
Local bodies in the list shall entrust one urban local body as a nodal entity to receive the grants.
This nodal entity shall also be responsible for achieving the performance indicators for the entire urban agglomeration, the ministry’s statement said.
The finance ministry states are intended to utilize for air quality improvement measures, including capacity building of the local bodies within the city, as well as meeting additional needs of State Pollution Control Boards to appropriately assist the local bodies in monitoring the ambient air quality.”
Meanwhile, Delhi’s pollution levels fall on Monday, with high wind speed aiding dispersion of pollutants.
The city recorded a 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of 293, which falls in the ‘poor’ category.
The 15th Finance Commission would submit its report for fiscal years 2021-22 to 2025-26 to President on November 9, which would be an official statement.
The commission chaired under N K Singh on October 30 concluded its deliberations on report.
The report signed by Singh and members of the commission Ajay Narayan Jha, Anoop Singh, Ashok Lahiri, and Ramesh Chand.
The commission would also present a copy of report to Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this month.