Link government spending to the pay-off: that’s the message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for department secretaries.
Disappointed with routine presentations, the Prime Minister’s Office has asked department secretaries to specify how they would link each paisa the government invested to the outcome for benefit of the people.
Modi, apparently, was not very impressed with initial demonstrations made before him by secretaries, as they only indicated their ministries’ mandate and vision. Most of the presentations talked about the departments’ plans and proposals for the next 100 days, but not the impact. The PM was more interested in learning the outcome of the proposals and how the ministries intend to measure this. “He wants results of every paisa the government spends and the statistical measurement,” a secretary-level official in the government said.
The administration has been grappling with a system to measure upshot of public outlay. The UPA government, under finance minister P Chidambaram, had come out with an outcome budget for two years, but discontinued the practice after facing criticism that the reports didn’t indicate how the expenditure had changed lives of people.
Modi, however, is keen that ministries measure outcome with May 2014 as the base as promised by him in BJP Parliamentary Party meeting.
The official added that all the secretaries have been asked to tweak their presentations to include a specific component on measureable outcome. “If a new scheme is being proposed, the secretaries have to state how many people it would benefit,” he said. The secretaries have also been told to give a timeline.
This has caught some functionaries off-guard, as none of the ministries have a system to measure the change government expenditure brings to lives of beneficiaries.