Finance Minister holds pre-budget consultation with Administrative Secretaries

Minister for Finance, Labour & Employment and Culture, Dr Haseeb A Drabu has stressed the need for effective financial management to ensure productive use of resources.
Finance Minister holds pre-budget consultation with Administrative Secretaries
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Minister for Finance, Labour & Employment and Culture, Dr Haseeb A Drabu has stressed the need for effective financial management to ensure productive use of resources.

This was stated by the Finance Minister during a meeting convened with administrative Secretaries here today to discuss the thrust areas and policy framework for the Budget 2017-18. 

The meeting also discussed in detail the budget proposals projected by various departments.

The meeting was attended by Financial Commissioner Agriculture Production Department Pramod Jain, Principal Secretary Home R K Goyal, Commissioner Secretary Finance Navin Kumar Choudhary, Administrative Secretaries of PDD, PWD (R&B), School Education, Higher Education, Industries and Commerce, Transport Department, Secretaries to Government, Tourism, Social Welfare, Rural Development, Health and Medical Education and Horticulture departments.

Speaking at the meeting, the Finance Minister called for evolving expenditure policies of the respective departments regardless of the resources required. He emphasized quality of expenditure over the quantum of resources and insisted this is the only way to ensure that the surging transaction costs on governance are used to affect productive changes.

The Finance Minister said that the budget should not be about numbers but it must outline the fiscal policy and development strategy of the government and must be directed towards policy outcomes on government priorities including public expenditure."Expenditure efficiency must define the outcome of expenditure and for this we can attempt zero budgeting than incremental budgeting, which is in vogue."

He said availability of resources comes only next to the quality of expenditure. "We may have lot of resources but more important is how we are spending and for what?" Dr Drabu said and called for "institutional audit and social audit going side by side."

Stressing on increasing the efficiency of resources, the finance minister said that after spending the money, the state should be able to verify the outcome in terms of assets created on the ground. Emphasizing importance of management of assets that state government is creating, Drabu said maintaining the assets "almost equals creation of assets and every department should keep part of the budget aside for maintenance of assets."

The Minister stressed the need for fine-tuning the expenditure management and monitoring system to ensure that unwarranted fiscal liabilities are not created. "There is a need to put in place checks and balances mechanism in the Government Departments to avoid creation of liabilities," he said.

He said the focus in the ensuing budget would be on the compulsory insurance of public assets including buildings. Impact of law and order situation should be figured in the tax and expenditure management of the budget, he added.

To meet the contingency on account of non-release of funds for Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) by the Government of India, some contingency funds across all the sectors should be put in place, he said and added that no capital expenditure for 2107-18 shall be entertained without proper DPRs. 

It was informed in the meeting that due to implementation of GST Bill from 2017-18, there will be some check on expenditure and exemptions can be possible only with the approval of GST Council. 

The administrative secretaries urged for centralized information system having consolidated data of employees so that the performance on ground level is monitored in an effective way. 

The participants also shared budget proposals pertaining to their departments.

The Finance Minister stressed the need to strengthen and streamline the systems for better financial, expenditure management. Dr Drabu informed the meeting that the department has already ordered the closure of all government bank accounts of various departments which remained inoperative for more than 2 years and having positive balance shall be transferred to the account of Finance department.

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