Tamil Nadu

Centre gives permission to Tamil Nadu to borrow more

The Union government has given its approval for Tamil Nadu to borrow ₹4,813 crore additionally after its successful implementation of the One Nation One Ration Card (ONOR) scheme. The Centre made the announcement in a release issued on Friday.

After the COVID-19 pandemic broke out early last year, the Centre decided in May to increase the States’ borrowing limit by 2% of their Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP). The relaxation is being allowed unconditionally for one half (1%) and conditionally for the other half. The stipulations fixed by the Department of Expenditure under the Union Finance Ministry pertain to the States’ implementation of four reforms — ONOR, ease of doing business, urban local body/utility reforms and power sector reforms, each having a score of 0.25%

With Tamil Nadu fulfilling the conditions on ease of doing business and ONOR, its borrowing limit goes up by 0.5%. Even in respect of the urban local body reforms, the State should be regarded as having satisfied the condition in view of having the system of property tax for long, said an official of the Finance Department. At present, a committee of officials is going through all the issues of tax revision and rationalisation. The State has decided not to accept the power sector reforms, which essentially relate to the introduction of direct benefit transfer to all farmers in lieu of free electricity.

Totally, Tamil Nadu’s borrowing limit during 2020-21 may go up by at least 1.5%, if not by 1.75%, in the event of the Centre agreeing with the State’s position on the local body reforms. The other States that have undertaken ONOR are Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh. Of them, the details of the southern States that have been allowed to go for additional borrowings are Karnataka ₹4,509 crore; Andhra Pradesh ₹2,525 crore; Telangana ₹2,508 crore; and Kerala ₹2,261 crore. Totally, 11 States have been granted permission for borrowing ₹30,709 crore more.

Inter-State portability

The ONOR scheme facilitates inter-State portability of ration cards. As part of the scheme, the linking of beneficiaries, as enumerated in ration cards, should be done with their Aadhaar numbers, apart from the biometric authentication through the automation of all fair price shops with electronic point-of-sale devices. The other objectives are better targeting of beneficiaries and elimination of bogus or duplicate or ineligible card holders.

According to the data put up on the website of the State Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Department, there are 2,11,92,841 cards having 6,81,82,891 beneficiaries. As of now, the Aadhaar seeding has covered 6,76,86,425 beneficiaries.

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 4:13:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/centre-gives-permission-to-tamil-nadu-to-borrow-more/article33584442.ece

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