The Central government’s conditional lending to states has begun bringing benefits to the public. The Centre had asked states to carry out reforms in the sectors critical for service delivery to the citizens, as a precondition for additional borrowings. One of the sectors identified for reforms was the Public Distribution System. Out of the additional borrowing limit of 2 per cent of GSDP, 0.25 per cent was linked to the implementation of “One Nation One Ration Card system”. So far, nine states have successfully completed reforms in PDS and implemented the One Nation One Ration System, according to the Ministry of Finance.
This reform 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 reform were to better target beneficiaries, eliminate bogus, duplicate, and ineligible ration cards, and thus enhance the welfare and reduce leakage. For this, Aadhar seeding of all ration cards, biometric authentication of beneficiaries, and automation of all FPS were made mandatory.
Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Tripura, and Uttar Pradesh are the states that successfully rolled out the PDS reform. On completion of reforms, additional borrowing permission of Rs 23,523 crore has also been issued to these states, the finance ministry added. It is to be noted that the Department of Food and Public Distribution is the Nodal Department to certify that a state has met the conditions stipulated for this reform. The deadline for the states to complete the reforms is 31 December 2020 and it is expected that many more states will complete this reform before the stipulated date.
In addition to the One Nation One Ration Card, other reforms specified as a pre-condition to avail additional borrowing are ease of doing business reform, urban local body/ utility reforms, and power sector reforms. The states are taking measures to bring the above reforms as well, which are directly intended to benefit the common people.
Source : Times of India