The Expenditure Management Commission that was set up to suggest measures to rationalise Central government spending is likely to table its first report by the month-end.
“The commission will be submitting its reports in three lots. The first one is due very soon while the other two will be submitted by January,” said a person familiar with the development, adding that its recommendations would be included in the Union Budget 2016-17. The report assumes significance as the Centre tries to control its fiscal deficit at 3.9 per cent of the GDP in 2015-16 while freeing-up additional fiscal space for investments in infrastructure. Going ahead, the financial burden of the One Rank One Pension scheme for army veterans and the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission report will also have a fiscal impact on the Exchequer even as the government tries to work on a roadmap for rationalisation of subsidies.
Sources said the commission is likely to suggest measures to improve operational efficiency of government departments, review subsidy mechanisms and the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management rules as well as take up suggestions from its interim report.
The finance ministry had in September last year set up the expert panel led by former RBI governor Bimal Jalan to review a number of issues including central government spending and suggest means to rationalise it as well examine the budgetting process and the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management rules. The commission had also submitted an interim report in January this year for inputs in this year’s Union Budget.
At the time, the commission had suggested measures including rationalisation and merger of Centrally Sponsored Schemes, extension of the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme to cover almost all government subsidies and welfare payments and elimination of the distinction between plan and non-plan expenditures.
However, it is still unclear whether the finance ministry will choose to make the final reports public.