New Delhi, January 12: Manipur has become the fourth state in the country to successfully undertake the 'Urban Local Bodies (ULB)' reform stipulated by the Department of Expenditure. With that development, the State has become eligible to mobilise additional financial resources of Rs.75 crore through Open Market Borrowings.
Permission for the same was issued by the Department of Expenditure on 11 January. Manipur has now joined the three other States namely, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana, who have completed this reform
On completion of Urban Local Bodies reform, these four states have been granted additional borrowing permission of Rs 7,481 crore.
It should be noted that reforms in the Urban Local Bodies and the urban utilities reforms are aimed at the financial strengthening of ULBs in the States and to enable them to provide better public health and sanitation services. Economically rejuvenated ULBs will also be able to create good civic infrastructure.
The reforms stipulated by the Department of Expenditure to achieve these objectives include:
- The State will notify (a) floor rates of property tax in ULBs which are in consonance with the prevailing circle rates (i.e. guideline rates for property transactions) and (b) floor rates of user charges in respect of the provision of water supply, drainage, and sewerage which reflect current costs/ past inflation.
- The State will put in place a system of periodic increases in floor rates of property tax/ user charges in line with price increases.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India had on 17th May 2020 enhanced the borrowing limit of the states by 2 percent of their Gross States Domestic Product (GSDP). Half of this special dispensation was linked to undertaking citizen-centric reforms by the states.
The States get permission to raise additional funds equivalent to 0.25 percent of GSDP on completion of reforms in each sector. The four citizen-centric areas identified for reforms 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.