The country’s top advisory and fund allocation body, the Planning Commission, will virtually have no role to play in the first budget of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government — a signal of its diminishing role.
The government has decided that the finance ministry will appraise the financial proposals of the central ministries for allocation of funds to them in the 2014-15 budget to be presented in the second week of July.
A senior government official said that directions were issued recently that the ministries should submit their budget allocation proposals directly to the finance ministry instead of routing it through the planning panel.
Since the panel came into being in 1950, the commission used to decide overall plan expenditure of the central government, called the gross budgetary support, in consultation with the finance ministry.
With the money in its kitty, the panel examines proposals of all central ministries and based on that, decides the annual budget of each ministry.
For this year’s budget, the finance ministry issued a circular on June 3 asking the ministries to submit the proposals to the budget division. It also set a deadline of June 19 to submit the proposals for inclusion in the budget.
A plan panel official had a counter argument saying that the government has not appointed the deputy chairperson and members of the commission and therefore, the appraisal process cannot be done.
“It is the deputy chairperson who interacts with the finance minister on budget issues. Without him, the process cannot take place,” the official said.
The government officials said the finance ministry is expected to allocate funds to each ministry based on the priorities enlisted in the President’s address to Parliament last week.