New Delhi: Odisha has become the 7th state in India to successfully undertake the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ reform stipulated by the Ministry of Finance. The state is now eligible to mobilise additional financial resources of Rs 1,429 crores through Open Market Borrowings, according to a Finance Ministry statement on Wednesday (December 30). 

The Department of Expenditure gave permission for the same on December 30, 2020. Odisha has now joined the six other states namely, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana, who have completed this reform. 

On completion of reforms facilitating Ease of Doing Business (EODB), these six states have been granted additional borrowing permission of Rs 20,888 crore. The ease of doing business is an important indicator of the investment-friendly business climate in the country. 

Improvements in the ease of doing business will enable faster future growth of the state economy. Therefore, the government of India had in May 2020, decided to link the grant of additional borrowing permissions to States who undertake the reforms to facilitate ease of doing business. 

The reforms stipulated in this category are:

1. Completion of the first assessment of ‘District Level Business Reform Action Plan’

2. Elimination of the requirements of renewal of registration certificates/approvals/licences obtained by businesses under various Acts.

3. Implementation of computerized central random inspection system under the Acts wherein allocation of inspectors is done centrally, the same inspector is not assigned to the same unit in subsequent years, prior inspection notice is provided to the business owner, and the inspection report is uploaded within 48 hours of the inspection.

In view of the resource required to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre had on May 17, 2020, enhanced the borrowing limit of the States by two percent of their GSDP. Half of this special dispensation was linked to undertaking citizen-centric reforms by the states. 

The four citizen-centric areas for reforms identified were (a) Implementation of One Nation One Ration Card System, (b) Ease of doing business reform, (c) Urban Local body/ utility reforms, and (d) Power Sector reforms.

So far 10 states have implemented the One Nation One Ration Card System, 7 states have done ease of doing business reforms, and 2 states have done local body reforms. 

Total additional borrowing permission issued so far to the states who have done the reforms stands at Rs 51,682 crore.

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