THE RESPONSE to the State Government’s first ever outcome budget by most of the departments has been cold. The outcome budget was presented with much fanfare to inject greater accountability and prudence in fiscal management.
Under the outcome budget provision, each department was to undertake quarterly review of the budgetary allocation spent so far on various heads.
Sixth month (means second quarter) has gone by since the outcome budget was presented but hardly any department bothered to review budgetary progress. “Though the State Planning Board and Planning department reviewed fiscal plan expenditures, none of the department carried out the exercise as was desired in the outcome budget, admitted a senior officer of the Finance Department.
Unhappy over the neglect of the outcome budget, Principal Secretary, Finance Sumit Bose has written to all departments seeking information about review, if any, of their departmental expenditure soon. “We expect an early quarterly review of the outcome budget so that progress of schemes could be effectively monitored,” Bose said in the letter.
The letter was circulated a fortnight at the end of second quarter on September 30. He requested all the departments to carry out half yearly review and ensure regular quarterly reviews in future. “This is our first attempt and its success depends on effective and regular monitoring,” he added.
Taking a cue from the Centre, the State Government had presented its first ever ‘outcome budget’ for 2006-07 with an aim of making the general budget more cost effective and for closely monitoring schemes.
When contacted, Finance Minister Raghavji said comprehensive review of the outcome budget is likely to be presented in the next assembly session.
What is outcome budget
THE OUTCOME budget is an instrument to look into the past and future of budget expenditure. It is a performance measurement tool that helps in better service delivery; decision-making; evaluating programme performance and results; communicating programme goals; and improving programme effectiveness. In short, the outcome budget is expected to ensure efficient service delivery, transparency and accountability.