A parliamentary panel has rapped the government for having made a provision of Rs 5,000 crore in the Budget for 2013-14 to the ministry of planning without identifying the ministries to which the money was to go.
The standing committee on finance, headed by former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, said a provision of Rs 5,000 crore was made in the ministry's demand for grants under a "New Programmes" head. Of this amount, Rs 4,425 crore is now being transferred to line ministries' demands, in the Supplementary Budget in respect of new schemes, the report tabled in Parliament recently said.
The ministry, in its Action Taken Reply to the committee, said specific schemes were being taken up in line with the finance minister's announcement in the Budget speech against the lump sum provision of Rs 5,000 crore. However, Rs 575 crore in the ministry's demands are still unspecified. While Rs 375 crore was earmarked for unspecified schemes without identifying the line ministries, Rs 200 crore initially allocated to line ministries is now not proposed to be transferred to these, according to the report.
Of the Rs 200 crore that would not be transferred now is Rs 100 crore originally provided as corpus fund to the Maulana Azad Education Foundation and Rs 300 crore to be transferred to institutions of excellence, instead of the Rs 400 crore mentioned earlier.
"The committee strongly disapproved the extant practice being followed by the ministry of planning, in allocating funds in the demands for grants without identifying the line ministries," the panel said, adding this was a breach of budgetary guidelines. "The committee would recommend to the government to avoid this practice in future."
It also wanted the government to provide details of the schemes for which the remaining amount of Rs 575 crore is to be utilised.
The panel recommended the government operationalise the Public Finance Management System, a financial management platform for all schemes.
A Cabinet meeting on Friday had approved national rollout of the programme, also known as Central Plan Scheme Monitoring System, over the next four years, with a total outlay of Rs 1,080 crore.
This system would provide for a database of all recipient agencies and integration with core banking solutions of banks handling plan funds. This would enable effective tracking of fund flow to the lowest level of implementation for Plan schemes.