As many as nine states have completed One Nation One Ration Card reform following which the central government has allowed them to raise an additional Rs 23,523 crore, said an official release on Wednesday.
The states which have successfully completed the Public Distribution System (PDS) reforms are Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh is the biggest beneficiary with an additional borrowing window of Rs 4,851 crore, followed by Karnataka Rs 4,509 crore and Gujarat Rs 4,352 crore.
Department of Food and Public Distribution in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution is the Nodal Department to certify that a State has met the conditions stipulated for this reform, the Finance Ministry statement said.
Further, to become eligible for additional borrowing, the States have to complete the reforms by December 31, 2020, it said, adding, it is expected that many more states will complete this reform before the stipulated date.
In addition to the One Nation One Ration Card, it said, other reforms specified as a precondition to avail additional borrowing are : ease of doing business reform, urban local body/utility reforms and power sector reforms.
In view of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic for mobilisation of financial resources, the Indian government has strengthened the hands of the States through multiple measures including grant of additional borrowing permission of 2 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) during 2020-21.
This has enabled the States to mobilise additional financial resources to fight the pandemic and maintain the standards of service delivery to the public, it said.
However, it said, to ensure long-term debt sustainability and prevent any adverse impact on future, a part of the additional borrowing was linked to the States carrying out reforms in the sectors critical for service delivery to the citizens.
One of the sectors identified for reforms is the Public Distribution System, it said, adding, out of the additional borrowing limit of 2 per cent of GSDP, 0.25 per cent is linked to implementation of “One Nation One Ration Card system”.
This was aimed to ensure that the beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other welfare schemes, especially the migrant workers and their families, get ration from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) across the country.
Other aims of the intended reform were to better target beneficiaries, elimination of bogus/duplicate/ ineligible ration cards and thus enhance welfare and reduce leakage, it said.
For this, it said, the reform conditions stipulated Aadhar Seeding of all Ration Cards, biometric authentification of beneficiaries and automation of all the Fair Price Shops (FPS) in the State.
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