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Economy Current Affairs
Economy Current Affairs October 5th Week 2017
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Category : Economy Current Affairs
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Economy Current Affairs October 5th Week 2017

1. Union Government Makes Use of Public Finance Management System Mandatory for Central Schemes.

The mandatory use of Public Finance Management System (PFMS) will help monitor the flow of funds to beneficiaries of different government welfare schemes, said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

He was speaking today at a function to launch the mandatory use of PFMS for all Central Sector Schemes (CSS), which have a budgetary outlay of ?6,66,644 crore.

With the capability of providing real time information, the Web-based software app PFMS has tremendous potential to improve programme/financial management, reduce the float in the financial systems by enabling “just in time” releases and also the government borrowings with direct impact on interest cost, he said.

“PFMS...would help in tracking and monitoring the flow of funds to the implementing agencies,” Jaitley said, adding that due to the monitoring of funds, “one can know the actual status of utilisation of funds by the multiple implementing agencies of the central and state governments”.

The ultimate purpose of implementing any scheme is to ensure that the benefits much reach to the last mile, he added.

In his address to senior officers of the finance and other ministries, Jaitley also talked about implementation of various schemes through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mechanism.

He expressed the hope that soon PFMS will progress towards a government wide Integrated Financial Management System as a comprehensive Payment, Receipt and Accounting System.
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Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said 13 Central Sector Schemes are under PFMS had picked up great momentum in the last two years and all the States “are now on board with the central government as far as acceptance of PFMS is concerned”.

Over 300 central and state government schemes, he said, are now riding on PFMS and payment of more than ?2.91 lakh crore relating to various schemes under DBT has been made through PFMS since 2013.

He said that PFMS has enabled the government in taking forward the DBT initiative with collateral benefits of plugging leakages and eliminating ghost beneficiaries.

Payments to 34.19 crore beneficiaries have been made through PFMS and there are 21.72 lakh programme implementing agencies registered on PFMS.

This has been achieved on the strength of PFMS having an interface with 170 banks including the Reserve Bank of India, Lavasa said.

2. India and World Bank Signed $200 Million Loan Agreement for Assam.
 
 India and World Bank Signed $200 Million Loan Agreement for Assam
 
The Government of India and the World Bank today signed a $200 million Loan Agreement for the Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project. 

The Project will support the Government of Assam to facilitate agri-business investments, increase agriculture productivity and market access, and enable small farm holders produce crops that are resilient to recurrent floods or droughts in the state. 

The Agreement for the Project was signed by Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India; Mr. Ravi Kota, Principal Secretary, Finance, Government of Assam, on behalf of the Government of Assam; and Mr. Hisham Abdo, Operations Manager, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank. 

After the Agreement, Mr Khare, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance said that Assam is simplifying several regulatory procedures related to doing business, agricultural marketing, and fisheries amongst others. He said that the project will help the State increase agricultural productivity by strengthening the farming systems, raise private sector investments to promote agri-enterprises which will create better job opportunities for the youth in the State. 

The Project will be implemented in over 16 Districts of Assam. Over 500,000 farming households will directly benefit from the Project. At least 30 percent women are expected to participate in project activities. Specific focus will be given to women-led enterprises and their participation in the decision-making process of farmer producer organizations. 

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Hisham Abdo, Operations Manager, World Bank said that the Government of Assam aims to double farm incomes in the State and transform the agricultural sector into a stable source of growth and economic development. He said that this project will serve as the nucleus to fulfill the State’s much larger vision of an agriculture-based rural transformation. 
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The focus on geographic clustering of the production base for certain commodities will help agri-enterprises take advantage of existing and future market opportunities that they may not necessarily achieve alone. The cluster approach will allow for combining efforts, making use of synergies, and pooling resources to increase the competitive advantage of these products, while at the same time share the risks involved in introducing improved products or entering previously untapped markets. Successful clusters will also continuously innovate and adapt ‘best practices’ across agricultural value chains. 

Mr. Manivannan Pathy, Senior Agricultural Specialist and World Bank’s Team Leader for the Project said that the value addition and market led production systems supported through the project are expected to play a vital role in enhancing the competitiveness of the agriculture sector. He said that this will be done by facilitating policy reforms, fostering private-public dialogue and catalyzing a wider private sector development in the agribusiness ecosystem of Assam. 

Another key component of the project will be to promote market-led production that can deal with the vagaries of climate change. Assam’s agriculture sector is highly vulnerable to climate variability and the state experiences recurrent floods and droughts. Currently, more than 50 percent of the paddy growing areas are prone to flooding, submergence and drought. A market-led production system will take advantage of the rapidly changing market, introduce crops that are resilient to climate change, increase production and manage risks for farmers. 

The $200 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 7-year grace period, and a maturity of 16.5 years.


 

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