We need to discuss the 'quality' of government expenditure ahead of the Budget, instead of focussing on revenue and fiscal numbers, Rajiv Kumar, vice-chairman, NITI Aayog said in an event organised by a think-tank Pehle India in New Delhi today.
"Most pre-budget discussions revolve around revenue and fiscal numbers. We should conduct more discussions around government expenditure," he said, emphasising on the need for better monitoring of government schemes - both by the Centre and state governments.
He said that the performance evaluation of schemes is very important. He also informed that the NITI Aayog is working on a real-time dashboard for all ministries, especially infrastructure ministries, to evaluate the performance of every scheme under each ministry.
"We are working on an output-outcome performance-based evaluation of all government schemes. We are scheduled to finish that exercise by the next month. We will have enough time before the Budget to look into the performance of those schemes. This will help us decide which schemes to promote and which ones to scrap," he said.
Kumar said that the government has been trying to bring more accountability in the way government ministries are allocating funds. He said that the government had constituted a committee under former RBI governor Bimal Jalan to rationalise the government expenditure. The committee had submitted its report three years ago and the government has implemented quite a few recommendations made in the report.
He, however, believes that for better expenditure management, all the three tiers of the government - the Centre, states and local bodies - have to be accountable. He said that while the Centre is doing its bit, states and local bodies have missed the bus and these two tiers of the government must gird up for any meaningful change.
According to a report released by Pehle India, there are over 700 Centrally Sponsored Schemes (Core of Core and Core) and Central Sector schemes with a total outlay of around Rs 13 lakh crore. This is a three-fold increase from the 2017-18 BE of Rs 4.66 lakh crore.
According to the report, almost 75 per cent, or roughly Rs 10 lakh crore is concentrated in Central Sector schemes, 19 per cent in Core schemes and 6.25 per cent in Core of Core schemes. Central schemes, which include all major central government subsidies, are split across several sectors.