Fact-check: Did Centre distribute only 26.14% of COVID funds under ECRP-II to states?
The Union Health Ministry published a clarification on Tuesday, stating that the Central Government had disbursed 50% of the cash intended for states and union territories.
Amid a controversy over the use of COVID-19 money, the Union Health Ministry published a clarification on Tuesday, stating that the Central Government had disbursed 50% of the cash intended for states and union territories. The ministry stated that a TV station recently claimed that the Central government has only distributed 26.14 per cent of the ECRP-II money to the states. According to the government, the news channel further reported that the Centre distributed funds by November 2021 and that states had used 60% of the allotted cash. It went on to say that the news storey is inaccurate, and the assertions are incorrect, deceptive, and based on distorted facts.
On July 8, 2021, the cabinet approved the "India Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Package - Phase-II" (ECRP-Phase-II) for a total of Rs 23,123 crore – Rs 15,000 crore for the central share and Rs 8,123 crore for the state share – to be implemented from July 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022. The scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme (CSS) with specific components from the central sector (CS). According to the ministry, the programme aims to prevent, identify, and respond to the ongoing threat presented by COVID-19 and build national health systems for emergency response and readiness across the country.
The programme calls for states to spend Rs 20,308.70 crore, of which the Central government would contribute Rs 12,185.70 crore, and state governments will donate Rs 8,123 crore.
According to the ministry, the Central government gave 15% of the central share to states/UTs in July last year, right after the scheme was approved, to prepare for ECRP-II implementation. The second tranche of funding was provided shortly after as an advance to the states in August 2021. By August 24, 2021, a total of Rs 6075.85 crore (50 per cent of the federal share) has already been given to states/UTs via the National Health Mission (NHM).
Asserting various factual inaccuracies in the report, the ministry stated that all funds were released on August 24, last year, rather than November 20, as stated in the news item. It went on to say that the remaining money will be distributed to states based on the progress and use of at least 50% of the funds previously distributed. So far, five states have recorded spending of more than 50%, according to the study.