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Tamil Nadu granted additional borrowing limit of Rs 4,813 crore for implementing PDS reforms

The government granted Tamil Nadu (TN) an additional borrowing limit of Rs 4,813 crore on account of its successful implementation of the One Nation One Ration Card System (ONORCS), a finance ministry statement said on Friday.

With this, TN became the 11th state to implement the public distribution system (PDS) reforms, taking the total additional borrowing limit granted to the states for implementing the PDS reforms to Rs 30,709 crore.

The other states that successfully implemented the ONORCS were Kerala, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Haryana, Karnataka, Tripura, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh (UP).

UP came out as the biggest beneficiary with an additional borrowing limit of Rs 4,851 crore followed by TN, after which Karnataka saw the highest amount at Rs 4,509 crore.

The PDS reforms were aimed at enabling states to better target beneficiaries and to eliminate bogus, duplicate or ineligible card holders resulting in enhanced welfare and reduced leakage, the statement said.

The ONORCS “ensures availability of rations 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 ministry said.

To accomplish this, the Centre’s conditions stipulated that all ration cards should be Aadhar-seeded along with biometric authentication of beneficiaries through the automation of all FPSs with the installation of electronic point of sale devices.

As part of the first tranche of the Atmanirbhar Bharat package in May last year, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced an additional borrowing limit for the states of 2% of gross state domestic product to meet their pandemic-related expenses.

From this amount, 1% was made conditional to the states successfully implementing reforms in the four areas of ease of doing business, ONORCS, urban local bodies and the power sector.

The aggregate additional borrowing limit granted to the states from the successful implementation of these reforms stood at Rs 61,339 crore.

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