Funds to be ready by Apr 1: FM

NEW DELHI, Mar 7:  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today asked various Central Ministries to remain in a state of readiness for implementing schemes and projects as funds would be made available from April 1.
“This time the Finance Bill would be passed by Parliament before March 31, 2017, therefore, different Ministries should be in a State of readiness as the funds for various schemes would be available with effect from April 1, 2017,” Jaitley was quoted as saying in an official statement.
The Finance Minister was addressing the financial advisors of various Central Ministries/departments after releasing the Revised General Financial Rules (GFRs) – 2017 at the ‘Conference of the Financial Advisors (FAs)’ here.
Appreciating the role of financial advisors in smooth implementation of budgeting and accounting reforms, Jaitley said the Government as a whole has challenges lying ahead to ensure that expenditure on schemes and projects should start from the beginning of the financial year to leverage the early passing of the Budget.
The Finance Minister also applauded the efforts that went into bringing out the Revised GFRs within a very short span of time to meet the need of the changing environment.
On the occasion, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said the Revised GFRs aim to provide a framework within which an organisation manages its business in a financially prudent manner without compromising its flexibility to deal with varied situations.
The new GFRs 2017 will enable an improved, efficient and effective framework of fiscal management while providing the necessary flexibility to facilitate timely delivery of services, Lavasa said.
The statement said the conference also deliberated upon the various challenges and opportunities before the financial advisors and their key role in the implementation of the Government schemes, besides providing innovative solutions in the changed environment in public financial management.
The GFRs are rules and orders dealing with matters involving public finances.
General Financial Rules were issued for the first time in 1947 bringing together in one place all existing orders and instructions pertaining to financial matters.
These have subsequently been modified and issued as GFRs 1963 and GFRs 2005.
In the last few years, the statement said the Government has made many innovative changes in the way it conducts its business.
Reforms in the Government budgeting like removal of distinction in non-plan and plan expenditure, merger of Railway Budget with General Budget, focusing on outcomes through an improved Outcome Budget document, all needed to be reflected in the GFRs, it added.
The statement said the increased focus on Public Finance Management System (PFMS), reliance on the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme to ensure efficient delivery of entitlements, introduction of new e-sites like Central Public procurement portal, government e-marketing (GeM) portal, non-tax revenue portal have also necessitated revision of the existing GFRs to keep them in tune with the changing business environment.
Noting that the objective was to make the GFRs facilitate efficiency while following principles of accountability and procedures of financial discipline and administrative due diligence, the statement said the new rules on non-tax revenues, user charges, e-receipts portal have been added in addition to the manner in which autonomous bodies are run. (PTI)


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