Friday, 9 December 2016

An Unprecedented Budget Reform


 
Business Line ( 07 Dec 2016 ) carries a news report titled :

" Outcome Budget norms tightened ; Deadlines will be set to meet Objectives "
It goes on to read :

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[ " In order to improve the quality of public expenditure, the Finance Ministry has tightened norms under which each ministry and department will have to prepare an Outcome Budget in consultation with NITI Aayog to achieve certain  OBJECTIVES  within a TIME FRAME .

As per the Ministry’s directions, every ministry will have to prepare an Outcome Budget statement linking outlays against each scheme as well as project with the DELIVERABLES  and medium term OUTCOMES .

A Finance Ministry official, involved in Budget making, said every “allocation for scheme/project will be against a firm set of DELIVERABLES  which will need to be adhered to”.

The ‘Outcome Budget’ is to be prepared after finalisation of the estimates for budgetary allocation, the official added.

“The OUTPUTS / DELIVERABLES should be mandatorily given in  MEASURABLE / QUANTITATIVE terms on the basis of parameters and deliverables DECIDED IN ADVANCE in consultation with Department of Expenditure and NITI Aayog,” the official said.

Through “outcome-based budgeting”, the Ministry is trying to shift from traditional performance-based budgeting by planning expenditure, fixing appropriate TARGETS and QUANTIFYING DELIVERABLES of each scheme.

The outcome-based one will outline what can be achieved with what is being spent and will involve the process of defining the desired long-term outcome of schemes of various ministries. " ]
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This is yet another example of NDA government listening to suggestions of ordinary citizens . and implementing the same , if found useful


Two years ago , on  05 Dec 2014 , I sent following suggestion to Shri Arun Jaitley-ji  ( and sent it , once again before last Union Budget ) :


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BUDGETING     BY    OBJECTIVES



Dear Shri Jaitley ,


Come Feb 2015 and you will present your Budget in Lok Sabha

You will allocate thousands of crores of rupees to different ministries , for spending during 2015-16

You may even increase / decrease their allocations based on , to what extent ( % ) did they manage to actually " spend " their current year's allocations

The one and only emphasis is on " spending " !


As usual , no MP will ask :


But , what exactly did the Minister concerned achieve by spending this money  ?

What physical / measureable targets did the Minister succeed in reaching / exceeding , with that money  ?  Where / What are the OUTPUTS  ?

Why is it that no targets were set in advance , before the start of the year ?

How come , Minister was allowed to shoot first and then draw concentric circles around the hole afterwards ( at the end of the year ) , to claim BULL'S EYE  ?  "



In private sector , shareholders / bankers do not hesitate to sack the CMD / MD / CEO , if he fails to deliver on promised profit


Then , why are Ministers allowed to retain their posts ( - or even get kicked upstairs ! ), despite failing to deliver  ?



Dear Shri Jaitley :


MPs should know that YOU cannot answer these questions , simply because , at the time of the Budget Exercise , no physical OUTPUTS  got fixed for each Minister


What did get fixed , were only EXPENDITURE TARGETS  !


Simply because MPs passed the Budget without fixing targets such as following for 31 March 2015 :


*  FINANCE  MINISTER

   *   GDP ..... 6 % ............ [ 10 % improvement ]

   *   CAD.......( -  ) 5 % .....[ 20 % improvement ]



*  COMMERCE  MINISTER

   *   Exports........ $ 350 Billion  ....  [ 10 % improvement  ]

   *   FDI..............$    50 Billion...... [  20 % improvement  ]



*   RAILWAY   MINISTER

    *   Lengths of Tracks...... 125,000 Km.....      [  Up by 10 %  ]

    *   No of Passenger Trains / day..... 10,000... [ Up by 10 % ]



*   HEALTH   MINISTER

   *   Chronic Hunger and Hunger Related Deaths
         8 Million / year .................................... [  Down by 20 %  ]

   *   Under-nourished people..... 200 million..... [ Down by 10 % ]



*   SOCIAL   WELFARE   MINISTER

    *    Dowery Deaths / year....... 8,000...... ...... [  Down by 10 %  ]

    *    People without Toilets........ 500 Million....  [  Down by  20 % ]



*   AGRICULTURE   MINISTER

    *    Farmers Suicide/ year..... .. 14,000...............  [ Down by 20 %  ]

    *    Food Grain rotting / year..... 5 Million tons.....  [ Down by 20 %   ]



So on and so forth for each Minister


Some Caution / Suggestions :


*    Ignore the numbers given above. I could be factually wrong

*    Focus on the concept of " Management by Objectives "

*    Overcome the fear of " failure to meet the targets ".

*    Overcome the fear of " being ridiculed " ! 

*    Don't chop off the neck that dares to stick out  !

*    Only failure is , not fixing the targets  ! 

*    Actual vs Targeted achievements must be measured , on an ongoing 
      basis , by totally independent THIRD PARTY agencies

      Ministers / Finance Minister and these Agencies , must agree in advance , how the 
      Agencies will go about " measuring " the Actual Achievements

      The method of measurement must be transparent and well publicized
      in advance

      Agencies shall have no role in fixing of Annual Targets

      That is best done by the Prime Minister - the CEO , MakeInIndia


*    There must be at least 10 performance parameters for each Minister

*    Parameters themselves could be selected / prioritized , based on an
      ONLINE PUBLIC SURVEY / OPINION POLL , from Govt web site

*    If conducting such an ONLINE POLL for the forthcoming budget is
      too late , same could be done on a printed form , by current MPs /
      MLAs / Rajya Sabha Members

*    Results of the SURVEY / POLL , must be published


I hope readers of this blog will contribute by passing on this message to

*    all of their friends / relatives / acquaintances / colleagues

*    as many legislators whose email IDs they can find 

*    to Shri Jaitley ( ajaitley@sansad.nic.in  /  ajaitley@del5.vsnl.net.in )

*    Everyone in their CONTACT list


OR,

*   request them to look it up on...BUDGETING  BY  OBJECTIVES 



Somehow , we must bring pressure on Lok Sabha Members , NOT to approve the forthcoming budget , unless TARGETS are set in advance

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My fellow Countrymen ( - and women ) :

If you persevere with your suggestions - and never give up - , you will be heard
But , if you give up , you will have only yourself to blame !

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10  Dec  2016


www.hemenparekh.in / blogs 

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