Centre on Tuesday clarified that it has released 50 per cent of funds earmarked for States and Union Territories, and not 26.14 per cent as claimed in some media reports.

The Centre further added that the funds were released by August 24 and not in November, as claimed.
The Union Health Ministry, in a press release, said, “A news channel has recently made a claim that the Union Government has only disbursed 26.14 per cent of the Emergency COVID Response Plans-II (ECRP-II) funds to the states. The news channel further claims that funds were disbursed by the Centre by November 2021 and states have utilized 60 per cent of the approved funds.”

“The news report is misinformed and claims are false, misleading and based on misrepresented facts,” it added.
The Ministry further informed that the Cabinet approved the “India Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Package – Phase-II” (ECRP-Phase-II) on July 8, 2021 for an amount of Rs 23,123 crores (Central Share – Rs 15,000 Crore and State Share – Rs 8,123 Crore) to be implemented from 1st July 2021 to 31st March 2022. The scheme is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) with some Central Sector (CS) components.

The scheme is aimed to prevent, detect and respond to the continuing threat posed by COVID-19 and strengthen national health systems for emergency response and preparedness across the country, said the Ministry.

“Under the scheme, Rs 20,308.70 crores are to be spent by states out of which Rs 12,185.70 crore is to be provided by the central government and Rs 8,123 crore is to be provided by state governments,” the Ministry further informed.

Highlighting the factual errors in the report of the news channel, the Ministry said that as opposed to claims out of the Rs 6075.85 crore made available by the Union Government, Rs. 1679.05, crore, (i.e. 27.13 per cent), have been spent by States as on December 31, 2021, and not 60 per cent as claimed in the news report.

AS per the release, immediately after approval of the scheme, the Union Government released 15 per cent of the central share to States/UTs on July 22, 2021 to enable them to quickly undertake the preparatory activities for implementation of ECRP-II.

“The second instalment of funds was released soon after as advance to the States in the month of August 2021. A total amount of Rs 6075.85 Crore (50 per cent of central share) has already been released to States/UTs through the National Health Mission (NHM) by August 24, 2021. State-wise central share release and expenditure till date can be seen at Annexure I. So far, expenditure of Rs 1,679.05 Crore has been incurred by the 36 States/UTs under ECRP-II,” it added.

Further, the Ministry said that the remaining funds will be released to states based on the progress and utilisation of at least 50 per cent of the funds already released.

“So far, five states have reported expenditure of more than 50 percent,” they said.

The release further read: “Central Government is actively pursuing with states with speedy implementation of the ECRP-II package. Two meetings have been conducted by Union Health Minister with State Health Minister, and Union Health Secretary has conducted at least three meetings with State Health Secretaries. Both the physical progress and expenditure are being monitored at the Union Health Ministry on a daily basis.” (ANI)