New Delhi, Dec 1 :  More than Rs 2 lakh crore have been disbursed to gram panchayats towards delivering basic services, government told the Lok Sabha today. Under the ambit of the Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC), funds are being provided to the gram panchayats for delivery of basic services. “An amount of Rs 2,00,292.20 crore has been awarded for the five year period 2015-20 exclusively for the gram panchayats for delivering basic services…,” Panchayati Raj Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said in a written reply.

The basic services include water supply, sanitation, storm water drainage, maintenance of community assets, roads, footpath and street-lighting. Grants given under FFC are to be utilised through preparation of Gram Panchayat Development Plans. There were supplementaries related to the topic during Question Hour, which could not be heard in the din created by Opposition slogan-shouting over demonetisation.

The government has also operationalised the Satellite Communication (SATCOM) facilities for panchayats for the purpose of training and information dissemination. “Ministry of Panchayati Raj has requsted Indian Space Research Organisation, National Informatics Centre and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and held meetings with them to assist states to design and implement cost-effective and robust SATCOM networks for panchayats,” the Minister said