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ADB, India sign $50-million loan to boost Bengal’s financial management reforms

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 02, 2020 Published on December 02, 2020

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Central government have signed a $50-million policy-based loan to improve financial management procedures and operational efficiencies aimed at achieving more fiscal savings, promote informed decision-making, and improve service delivery in West Bengal.

The signatories to the West Bengal Public Finance Management Investment Programme were CS Mohapatra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance and Takeo Konishi, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission.

Mohapatra said that integration of the State’s financial and information systems through the programme’s whole-of-government approach will help improve delivery of public services and generate fiscal savings that could help the state augment growth-enhancing development financing.

Konishi said that through support to interoperable e-Government platforms, the programme will ensure streamlining of social protection benefits like pension and provident fund, facilitate gender-disaggregated data, tax payments, and revenue collection.

Development projects could be better tracked and monitored with the help of a new module within the integrated financial management system leading to improved project management.

Public finance reform

A centre for fiscal policy and public finance will be established to deepen capacity of the State government officials on public finance management while developing a web-based grievance redress system for transport corporations and urban local bodies will provide a credible citizen-government interface, an official release said.

The loan builds up on past ADB policy-based programmes in 2012 and 2017, supporting the Government of West Bengal on sustainable public financial management reforms. These programmes helped develop and implement an IFMS, established successful e-Governance systems for improved revenue administration, undertook measures for expenditure rationalisation, and promoted the private sector’s involvement in service delivery.

The loan is proposed to be supplemented by a $3,50,000-technical assistance grant for capacity building, monitoring of IFMS reforms, and strengthening the integration of social and gender aspects in reform areas, the release added.

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Published on December 02, 2020
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