New Delhi (NVI): Goa has become the sixth state to successfully undertake Urban Local Bodies (ULB) reforms and become eligible to mobilise additional financial assistance of Rs 223 crore through open market borrowings, the Ministry of Finance said.
The coastal state has joined five other states namely Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Rajasthan and Telangana, who have already completed ULB reforms.
“On completion of this set of reforms, these five states have been granted a total additional borrowing permission of Rs 10,435 crore,” according to the Finance Ministry statement.
The reforms in urban local bodies and the urban utilities reforms are aimed at financial strengthening of ULBs in the states and to enable them to provide better public health and sanitation services to citizens, the statement said.
Besides, economically rejuvenated ULBs will also be able to create good civic infrastructure.
The ministry also stated that, the set of reforms stipulated by the Department of Expenditure includes the state concern notifying floor rates of property tax in ULBs which are in consonance with the prevailing circle rates, and floor rates of user charges in respect of the provision of water-supply, drainage and sewerage which reflect current costs/past inflation.
“The state will also put in place a system of periodic increase in floor rates of property tax or user charges in line with price increases,” it added.
In view of the resource requirement to meet multiple challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India earlier on May 17, 2020, enhanced the borrowing limit of the states by 2 percent of their Gross States Domestic Product (GSDP), the statement read.
“Half of this special dispensation which is 1 percent of GSDP was linked to undertaking citizen centric reforms by the states,” it said.
The four citizen centric areas for reforms identified by the Department of Expenditure are Implementation of One Nation One Ration Card System, Ease of doing business reform, Urban Local body/ utility reforms and Power Sector reforms.
So far, 17 states have carried out at least one of the four stipulated reforms and have been granted reform linked borrowing permissions, the ministry said, adding that, “Total reform linked additional borrowing permission issued so far to the States stands at Rs 76,512 crore.”