Stakeholders at Odisha Vikash Conclave 2016 have outlined the theme to and design the road map as a part of good governance and sustainable development.
The quality of governance in a State is determined by the effectiveness of its accountability mechanism both towards the people’s representatives (in the State Legislature) as well as towards the people. Transparency in government process and the space for people’s participation in setting up budgetary priorities and contours of public policies are also equally important. However, even a reasonably transparent, participatory and accountable system of governance might not adopt a ‘fiscal policy’ approach which is responsive to the needs and rights of the underprivileged. Hence, it is necessary to examine the fiscal policy framework of public spending for social sectors and also the responsiveness of the state budget towards the need of the marginalized.
Following the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission in 2015, the states have the increased autonomy (in terms of the untied resources available to them). However, it is accompanied by the reduction of Union Government’s financial assistance to the states and in several of the social sector programmes. The states are expected to provide additional budgetary resources from their untied funds to compensate the reduced budget outlays. Also, the fund sharing pattern in Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) between the Union Government and the States is set at 60:40 for most of the prominent social sector schemes. All these changes call for prudent expenditure management and using the increased fiscal autonomy by the states to prioritize critical social sectors.
The revenue mobilized by the government plays an important role in determining its fiscal space. Thus, the fiscal policy space available to the Government of Odisha is crucial in deciding its public investment strategies and the priority accorded to social sectors in the overall budgetary spending. After the passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Constitutional Amendment Bill by the Parliament, the federalism of the Country will witness a new trend and the states’ autonomy to decide taxes according to their socio-economic situations will be surrendered. As this will have an implication on the overall resource envelope of the State, it is urgent to discuss the subject as to how to make adequate public resources available to the state government for giving priority to development sectors.
Given the scenario, the session on ‘Inclusive Governance, Fiscal Management and Social Accountability’ in the Odisha Development Conclave-2016 would focus on some of the following key areas to improve the quality of governance in the State.
- New Resource Opportunities
- Fiscal and Financial Management
- Governance & Accountability