Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 9
The government has given permission to nine states, including Haryana, to borrow Rs 23,523 crore from the market as they had fulfilled one condition set by the Centre to become eligible to take loans.
Nine states—Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Tripura and UP – had completed reforms in the Public Distribution System. The states undertook three major initiatives in this regard: they seeded the Aadhaar numbers with all ration cards, biometrically authenticated beneficiaries and automated all Fair Price Shops (FPS).
Haryana has been allowed to borrow Rs 2,146 crore while UP will borrow the maximum of Rs 4,851 crore.
It all began when the pandemic-induced lockdown led to a sharp fall in states’ incomes. The Centre allowed them to take debt up to 2 per cent of their respective Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in 2020-21. Of this 2 per cent, 0.25 per cent of the borrowing by states was linked to their implementing some major components of the “One Nation One Ration Card” system.
The Centre said it linked a part of the additional borrowing to states carrying out reforms in those sectors that are critical for service delivery to citizens. This linkage will ensure long-term debt sustainability and prevent any adverse impact on future, it argues.
Work on this project began over two years back with the Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) and a nation-wide roll-out was announced in May this year by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
An official news release said this step has enabled states to mobilise additional financial resources to fight the pandemic and improve the standards of service delivery to the public.
After all states implement this system, migrant workers and their families as well as beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other welfare schemes will be able to get ration from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) in the country.
The intended reform will also better target beneficiaries, and eliminate duplicate or ineligible ration cards and thus enhance welfare and reduce leakage, said an official news release.