NEW DELHI: The Centre has a war chest of more than Rs 60,000 crore to fight the Covid-19 pandemic — Rs 30,000 crore is already available in state disaster relief funds (SDRF) while allocation of a similar amount has been made for the 2020-21 financial year towards disaster relief and mitigation. This is in addition to contributions received in the PM’s relief fund.According to sources, the balance in SDRF of states is Rs 30,000 crore as on March 30. The kitty is made out of funds allocated every year to states to meet expenditure on relief and rehabilitation. Since the funds under SDRF and the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) are non-lapsable, they get added to the kitty.Since 2016-17, the government has allocated over Rs 80,000 crore for disaster relief and rehabilitation — Rs 50,000 crore towards SDRFs and Rs 30,285 from the NDRF. The home ministry, in an order issued on March 14, had classified Covid-19 as a notified disaster for the purpose of providing assistance under SDRF. It had also provided a list of items and norms of assistance for containment of Covid-19 in India, eligible from SDRF and NDRF.Last year, the Centre had allocated Rs 13,465 crore to states under SDRF to meet disaster-related expenditure. In addition, the Centre had allocated over Rs 14,000 crore from the NDRF to eight states — Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh — for exigencies arising out of floods. Kerala already had a balance of Rs 2,100 crore in its SDRF.Looking at largescale exodus of migrant workers from Delhi and other parts of the county to their hometowns, the government on Saturday clarified that fund use under SDRF would include relief measures for this class of people in providing them temporary accommodation, food, clothing and medical care. “This would be applicable to homeless people, including migrant labourers, stranded due to lockdown measures and sheltered in relief camps and other places for providing them food etc for containment of Covid-19 in the country,” the order said.While making it clear that no state will face any funds crunch in meeting expenditure towards the battle against Covid-19, the Centre has directed all states and Union Territories to ensure that the lockdown is followed in true spirit and no movement of any citizen is allowed in any part of the country
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