The first instalment of the central share of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) of Rs 8873.6 crore for the year 2021-22 has been released to all the states, said the Ministry of Finance on Saturday.

The ministry said that up to 50 per cent of the amount released i.e. Rs 4436.8 crore can be used by the states for COVID-19 containment measures.

It also said that an amount of Rs 8873.6 crore has been released to the states at the recommendation of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Normally, the first instalment of SDRF is released in the month of June as per the recommendations of the Finance Commission.

“However, 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,” it said.

The funds from SDRF may be used by the states for various measures related to containment of COVID-19 including meeting the cost of oxygen generation and storage plants in hospitals, ventilators, air purifiers, strengthening ambulance services, COVID-19 hospitals, Covid Care Centres, consumables, thermal scanners, personal protective equipment, testing laboratories, testing kits, containment zone, etc. (ANI)