The Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley calls upon the Financial Advisers of different Ministries to ensure that expenditure on schemes and projects start from the beginning of the financial year to leverage the early passing of the Finance Bill this year; FM releases the Revised General Financial Rules (GFR) 2017.
The Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley said since this time, the Finance Bill would be passed by the Parliament before the 31st March, 2017, therefore, the different Ministries should be in a stage of readiness as the funds for various schemes would be available with effect from 1st April, 2017. The Finance Minister Shri Jaitley was addressing all the Financial Advisors in the different Central Ministries/Departments after releasing the Revised General Financial Rules (GFRs) – 2017 at the Conference of the Financial Advisors (FAs) in the national capital here today. The Conference of FAs was organised by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, Government of India. The Finance Minister appreciated the role of Financial Advisors in the smooth implementation of Budgeting and Accounting reforms. Shri Jaitley stressed on the challenges lying ahead for the Government as a whole to ensure that expenditure on schemes and projects should start from the beginning of the financial year to leverage the early passing of the Budget. The Finance Minister also applauded the efforts that went into bringing- out the Revised GFRs within a very short span of time to meet the need of the changing environment.
Earlier speaking on the occasion, Shri Ashok Lavasa, Finance Secretary stated that the Revised GFR -2017 aims to provide a framework within which an organization manages its business in a financially prudent manner without compromising its flexibility to deal with varied situations and that the new GFRs 2017 will enable an improved, efficient and effective framework of fiscal management while providing the necessary flexibility to facilitate timely delivery of services.
The Conference also deliberated upon the various challenges and opportunities before the Financial Advisors and their key role in the implementation of the Schemes of the Government and providing innovative solutions in the changed environment in public financial management. Conference of Financial Advisors is a forum through which the Finance Secretary & Secretary (Expenditure), Ministry of Finance holds detailed deliberations with all the Financial Advisors posted in various Ministries/Departments.
The GFRs are rules and orders dealing with matters involving public finances.General Financial Rules were issued for the first time in 1947 bringing together in one place all existing orders and instructions pertaining to financial matters. These have subsequently been modified and issued as GFRs 1963 and GFRs 2005.
In the last few years, the Government has made many innovative changes in the way it conducts its business. Reforms in the Government Budgeting like removal of distinction in non-plan and plan expenditure, merger of Railway Budget with General Budget, focusing on outcomes through an improved Outcome Budget document, all needed to be reflected in the GFRs. Increased focus on Public Finance Management System (PFMS), reliance on the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Scheme to ensure efficient delivery of entitlements, introduction of new e-sites like Central Public Procurement Portal, Government e-Marketing (GeM) Portal, Non-Tax Revenue Portal have also necessitated revision of the existing GFRs to keep them in tune with the changing business environment. The objective was to make the GFRs facilitate efficiency while following principles of accountability and procedures of financial discipline and administrative due diligence. New rules on non-tax revenues, user charges, e-receipts portal have been added in addition to the manner in which Autonomous Bodies are run.