New Delhi (NVI): Punjab has become the 13th state to successfully undertake “One Nation One Ration Card system” reform stipulated by Ministry of Finance and become eligible to raise Rs 1,516 crore additional assistance through open market borrowings.
In a statement, Finance Ministry said, “Punjab has now joined 12 other States namely, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh, who have already completed this reform.”
On completion of One Nation One Ration Card system reform, these all states have been granted additional borrowing permission of Rs 34,956 crore by the Department of Expenditure, it added.
Notably, the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ system is an important citizen centric reform. Its aims to ensures availability of ration to beneficiaries under National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other welfare schemes, especially the migrant workers and their families, at any Fair Price Shop (FPS) across the country.
The ministry also said that, the reform especially empowers the migratory population mostly labourers, daily wagers, urban poor like rag picker, street dwellers, temporary workers in organised and unorganised sectors, domestic workers etc, who frequently change their place of dwelling to be self reliant in food security.
It also enables the states in better targeting of beneficiaries, elimination of bogus/ duplicate/ineligible card holders resulting in enhanced welfare and reduced leakage.
Therefore, additional borrowing limit of 0.25 percent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) is allowed to the states only on completion of both aadhar seeding of all the ration cards and beneficiaries and automation of all the Fair Price Shops (FPSs) with installation of electronic point of sale (e-PoS) devices in the state.
On May 17 last year, in view of the resource requirement to meet multiple challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of India had enhanced the borrowing limit of the states by 2 percent of their GSDP, the statement said
“Half of this special dispensation i.e. 1 percent of GSDP was linked to undertaking citizen centric reforms by the States,” it added.
In addition, the four citizen centric areas for reforms identified by the Department of Expenditure were, 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.
Out of these, 13 states have implemented the one nation one ration card system, 12 states have done ease of doing business reforms, 6 states have done local body reforms and 2 states have undertaken power sector reforms, the ministry said, adding that, “Total reform linked additional borrowing permission issued so far to the States stands at Rs 76,512 crore.”