Bhubaneswar : Odisha Government’s reluctance to implement ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ reforms is not only likely to deprive the State of the benefit of more additional borrowing allowed by the Union Government but also the facility of ration to the migrant workers from the State in other states.
According to officials, the reform 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.
There are more than 25 lakh migrant workers from the State serving in other states and adoption of this reform would have been much more beneficial for these hapless workers, the officials point out.
As on date, 11 major states have opted for the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ reform and have been reaping benefits of additional borrowings.
Tamil Nadu has become the 11th State in the country to implement the reform stipulated by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance and has become eligible to mobilise additional financial resources of Rs.4,813 crore through open market borrowings.
Ten other states — Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh—have also initiated the reform.
On completion of the reform, these 11 states have been granted permission for a combined additional borrowing to the tune of Rs.30,709 crore by the Department of Expenditure, the official added.
‘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.
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.
The reform also enables the States in better targeting of beneficiaries, elimination of bogus/ duplicate/ineligible card holders resulting in enhanced welfare and reduced leakage.
Further, to ensure seamless inter-state portability of a ration card, Aadhar seeding of all ration cards as well as biometric authentication of beneficiaries through automation of all fair price shops (FPS) with installation of electronic point of sale (e-PoS) devices are essential.
Therefore, additional borrowing limit of 0.25 per cent of the gross state domestic product (GSDP) is allowed to the states only on completion of both of the following actions like Aadhar seeding of all the ration cards and beneficiaries in the State and Automation of all the FPSs in the State.
In view of the resource requirement to meet multiple challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Union Government had on May 17, 2020 enhanced the borrowing limit of the States by 2 percent of their GSDP.
Half of this special dispensation – 1 per cent 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 implementation of ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ system, ease of doing business reform, urban local body/ utility reforms and power sector reforms.
So far 11 States have implemented the One Nation One Ration Card System, 8 States including Odisha have done ease of doing business reforms, and 4 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.