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More Rooms For Reforms

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Bhubaneswar: While Odisha has taken lead in implementing two major citizen centric reforms and availed enhanced borrowing limits, reluctance for going Power Sector and Urban Local Body Reforms seems bothering the Union Government, which is pressing for such reforms.

Odisha has successfully operationalized Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) and One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) System and has been able to avail Rs.2858 Crore additional borrowing.

In view of the resource requirement to meet multiple challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India had on 17 May, 2020 enhanced the borrowing limit of the States by 2 percent of their GSDP.

 Half of this special dispensation i.e. 1 percent of GSDP was linked to undertaking citizen centric reforms by the States.

The four citizen centric areas for reforms identified by the Department of Expenditure were (a) Implementation of One Nation One Ration Card System, (b) Ease of Doing Business reform, (c) Urban Local body/ utility reforms and (d) Power Sector reforms.

While Odisha has opted for EoDB and ONORC, it was expected that Urban Local Body and Utility Reform and Power Sector Reform will be taken up by this State, which is rated as a progressive State so far citizen centric reforms adoption is concerned.

Odisha along with 16 States have successfully operationalised “One Nation One Ration Card system”.

Similarly Odisha along with 14 States have adopted EODB and availed additional borrowings.

States completing One Nation One Ration Card system reform are eligible for additional borrowing of 0.25 percent of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

Accordingly, these States have been granted additional borrowing permission of Rs. 37,600 crore by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance.

On completion of reforms facilitating Ease of Doing Business, these 15 states have been granted additional borrowing permission of Rs 38,088 crore.

One Nation One Ration Card System is an important citizen centric reform. Its implementation 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 reform especially empowers the migratory population mostly labourers, daily wagers, urban poor like rag pickers, street dwellers, temporary workers in organized and unorganized sectors, domestic workers etc, who frequently change their place of dwelling to be self reliant in food security.

This technology driven reform enables the migrant beneficiaries to get their entitled quota of food grains from any electronic point of sale (e-PoS) enabled fair Price Shops of their choice anywhere in the country.

Under this backdrop, it is expected that Odisha will soon adopt two more major citizen centric reforms and will be able to avail another Rs.2858 Crore of additional borrowing, which help out the state to ease its fiscal burden, officials say.

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