The Ministry of AYUSH has rolled out a set of initiatives to improve Financial Management and accelerate Governance Reforms. These initiatives have two thrust areas, namely the Government Schemes (both Central Sector and Centrally Sponsored) and the Autonomous Bodies of the Ministry.
The road-map to this set of initiatives were laid down by Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary (AYUSH) and Dharmendra Singh Gangwar, Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser in a high level meeting in the Ministry held in September, 2020. These were taken up for implementation on priority by the different units of the Ministry. Drawing up the list of financial and governance reforms, and designing programme/schemes to ensure that fund flow is reached to Project Implementation Agency in a seamless and direct manner are among the ground work activities identified. These will be supplemented with timely release of funds to State Governments with matching shares and pre-defined triggers so that there is no parking of funds at any level. These steps, thus serve to nullify some of the frequently observed bottlenecks that delay government projects.
An immediate impact of this initiative has been the increased adoption of the Public Financial Management System, the modern and speedy accounts management system of the Government, by the Autonomous Bodies and Schemes Units of the Ministry.
The practice of the Autonomous Bodies (ABs) entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ministry of AYUSH with performance targets has also been adopted and implementation with respect to many of the ABs. These MoUs will help to align the outcomes of the Autonomous Bodies with the goals and objectives of the Ministry, and to eliminate overlaps and wastages of efforts and resources.
In order to pre-empt leakage and increase speed, all payments like stipends to students etc., will be through electronic mode, on the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) platform
Introduction of Third Party Evaluation of all Government Schemes of the Ministry is another step, and this will be carried out by November, 2020. This will lead to objective evaluation of outcomes and consequent performance improvement.
Considering that the National Ayush Mission (NAM) is a flagship project with country-wide impact on promotion of AYUSH systems, special efforts will be taken to streamline its operations. Steps are initiated to develop a portal, on the lines by N-FAMS (NHM Financial Accounting Management System) for National AYUSH Mission (NAM) – March, 2021. It was also decided to develop a Dashboard for real time monitoring of flow of funds.
This series of financial governance reforms initiated in September 2020 in the Ministry are already showing results in the outcomes of Centrally Sponsored and Central Sector Schemes as well as in the functioning of Autonomous Bodies. The different units have increased the usage of portal for online submission of Utilisation Certificates, physical & financial report, State Annual Action Plan and DBT related information.
In the handling financial matters, the Autonomous Bodies has been empowered by these initiatives, with a visible improvement in outcomes.