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Tamil Nadu 11th state to implement 'One Nation One Ration Card' reform


New Delhi, Jan 15: As many as 11 states have implemented the ''One Nation One Ration Card'' reform so far, following which the central government has allowed them to raise an additional Rs 30,709 crore, an official statement said.

Nirmala Sitharaman

Tamil Nadu has become the 11th state in the country to successfully undertake the Public Distribution System (PDS) reforms stipulated by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, it said.

Thus, the state has become eligible to mobilise additional financial resources of Rs 4,813 crore through open market borrowings and permission for the same was issued by the Department of Expenditure, it added.

Other states which have successfully completed the reforms are Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, 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.

The 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.

In view of the resource requirement to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government had in May enhanced the borrowing limit of the states by 2 per cent of their gross state domestic product (GSDP).

This has enabled the states to mobilise additional financial resources to fight the pandemic and maintain the standards of service delivery to the public.

However, 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 was 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 the ''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, the reform conditions stipulated Aadhaar seeding of all ration cards, biometric authentication of beneficiaries and automation of all the Fair Price Shops in the state.

So far, 11 states have implemented the One Nation One Ration Card system, eight states have undertaken ease of doing business reforms, and four states have done local body reforms.

Total additional borrowing permission issued so far to the states who have done the aforesaid reforms stands at Rs 61,339 crore, it said.

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