The Finance Ministry has extended the deadline till February 15 for states to implement reforms like one-nation one ration card and those in the power sector to become eligible for additional borrowing in the current fiscal, a release said.

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To meet the extra fund requirements of states on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre in May had decided to raise the borrowing limit of the states by 2 percent of their GSDP, over and above the 3 percent limit set under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act.

However, states were required to complete four specific reforms — implementation of one nation one ration card, ease of doing business reform, urban local body/ utility reforms and power sector reforms — by December 31, 2020, to get the benefits.

Such states would get the facility of additional borrowing equivalent to 0.25 percent of their Gross States Domestic Product (GSDP) for completing each reform. Under this facility, additional borrowing of up to Rs 2.14 lakh crore is available to the states on completion of all the four reforms.

“The Department of Expenditure has extended the deadline for the states to complete citizen-centric reforms in various sectors. Now, if the recommendation from the nodal Ministry concerned regarding the implementation of the reform is received by February 15, 2021, the state will be eligible for reform-linked benefits,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

So far nine states have implemented the one nation one ration card system, four states have completed the ease of doing business reforms and one state has done the urban local body/ utility reforms.

“Additional borrowing permission of Rs 40,251 crore has been granted to these states. Extension of the date for completion of reforms is likely to motivate other states also to complete the reform process expeditiously and avail the linked financial benefits,” the ministry added. PTI JD MR.

Mean-while, India recorded 26,382 fresh COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, while the national recovery rate stood at over 95 percent, according to data updated by the Union Health Ministry today.

India’s coronavirus caseload mounted to 99,32,547 with 26,382 infections being reported in a day, while the deaths rose to 1,44,096 with 387 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am on Wednesday showed.

There are 3,32,002 active coronavirus infections in the country which constitute 3.34 percent of the total caseload, the data stated.

The United States on Tuesday authorized its first rapid at-home test for Covid-19, which is available over-the-counter and produces a result in around 20 minutes. The test will sell for around $30 and the company plans to roll out three million units in January 2021, and millions more in subsequent months.

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