Several reforms in digitalisation in the Country have majorly contributed towards filling the scopes for discretion and fraud as per the latest report of International Monetary Fund (“IMF”) released this Wednesday.
Furthermore, the introduction of e-procurement in India not only increased competition but has also contributed to better quality of construction as per the report of IMF in its latest edition of the fiscal monitor released right before annual spring meeting at the World Bank.
“Some reforms in India show the benefits of digitalisation and reducing opportunities for discretion and fraud,”as per the Report.
“For example, the adoption of an electronic platform for managing a social assistance programme in India resulted in a 17 per cent decline in spending with no corresponding decline in benefits,”further stated in the Report.
Such as in the State Andhra Pradesh, the use of smart ID cards that are used to identify beneficiaries of specific programmes and improve beneficiaries’ access to information has helped in reducing leakage of resources by 41%.
The Report further highlighted that studies on public procurement have indicated that the design of procedures can have a significant impact on the prices and quality of products.
External scrutiny by Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs), parliaments and civil society helps safeguard the integrity of public finances and hold civil servants and elected officials accountable, the IMF said, adding that focused audits can help fight corruption by identifying waste and miss-management.
“For example, social audits have been in place in India since 2005 to oversee the implementation of a large job guarantee programme and to fight corruption in the programme,”it said.
These audits were sponsored and supported by the Indian SAI and were heavily reliant on the strong and direct participation of citizens, the IMF said, adding that SAIs also help promote integrity by reviewing the reliability of the internal control and audit framework.
In its fiscal report, the IMF said the interim federal government budget of February 2019 envisages a slower pace of adjustment than previously planned, primarily due to the newly announced rural farm income-support scheme.
“IMF staff projections are that the achievement of the federal government deficit target of three per cent of GDP will likely be delayed and that the debt target of 40 per cent of GDP will be achieved after 2024,” Report.
On the other hand in China, the government plans a more proactive fiscal stance for 2019 that would include reductions in the value-added, personal income and corporate income tax rates.
General government debt is projected to rise over the medium term to over 72 per cent of the GDP by 2024, the IMF added.