The Ministry of Finance led by Arun Jaitley has been working tirelessly to fulfill the agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of providing a cashless, corruption less clean governance to make New India.
It seems that Modi has acknowledged a fact made public by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi that "only 10 paisa out of one Rupee reaches to the actual beneficiaries of the government's welfare scheme". And, hence his main thrust is on providing direct benefit to the beneficiaries of the government schemes.
Considering the importance of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme , the finance ministry released Rs. 1,02,786.77 crore under in the form of direct transfers to beneficiaries of different government programmes, like- National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), National Horticulture Mission (NHM) and food subsidy, etcetera- till February 2017.
In order to take care of the pockets of the employees, the government issued the Resolution and the Central Civil Services (Revised Pay) Rules, 2016 on July 25, 2016.
To provide the relief to the pensioners, the government approved modifications in the 7th Central Pay Commission Recommendations on Pay and Pensionary benefits on May 3, 2017.
The modified formulation of pension revision approved by the Cabinet will entail an additional benefit to the pensioners.
It will benefit over 55 lakhs pre-2016 civil and defence pensioners and family pensioners," says a finance ministry official.
The Cabinet also approved the retention of percentage-based regime of disability pension implemented post 6th Central Pay Commission (CPC), which the 7th CPC had recommended to be replaced by a slab-based system.
"The decision which will benefit existing and future Defence pensioners would entail an additional expenditure of approximately Rs. 130 crores per annum," says a finance ministry official.
The finance ministry also provided special assistance of Rs. 10890 crore to the States during 2015-16.
"Net borrowing ceilings of the States for the year 2016-17 at Rs 429353 crore have been fixed anchoring the Fiscal Deficit target of 3 percent of respective State GSDP as recommended by Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) for its award period (2015-20).
The government also released funds for the terror-torn Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
Prime Minister in 2015 announced J&K Reconstruction plan of Rs. 80,068 crore. Special Assistance of Rs. 1194.85 crore was released in 2015-16 for damaged and destroyed houses due to the floods. Till January 2017, a special assistance of Rs. 1093.34 crore towards permanent restoration of damaged infrastructure and Rs. 800 crore towards Interest Subvention on assistance for restoration of livelihood for traders/ self-employed / business establishment, etcetera was provided.
In order to better allocate existing resources and improve the efficiency of government programmes, the finance ministry brought down the number of Central Sector Schemes (CSS) to 300 from around 1500 earlier, and the number of Centrally Sponsored Schemes was brought down to 28 from 66 earlier.
To rationalize Central Sector and Centrally Sponsored Schemes, Plan and Non-Plan Expenditure distinctions were done away with and all schemes and projects have now an Outcome Framework.
Each Scheme will now have a start and a sun-set date co-terminus with the Finance Commission Cycle.
Third party Evaluation has also been formally built into the appraisal and approval framework to ensure periodic feedback, a more concerted focus on outcomes and enhanced growth performance.
The ministry also contributed to the Swachh Bharat Mission and it approved Rs 427.84 crore for renovation of 2,46,307 dysfunctional toilets in Government Schools.
On the disaster management front, during the year 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 (till 27.02.2017), financial assistance to the tune of Rs. 3460.88 crore, Rs. 12,451.96 crore and Rs. 8,390.87 crore respectively was provided to affected States from NDRF for the management of immediate relief operations for people affected by natural calamities like drought, hailstorm, flood, earthquake and cyclone etcetera.
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