The critical importance of obtaining better outcomes from government expenditure is highlighted by the following. According to India’s Public Finance Statistics (latest data is for 2015-16), India’s total government expenditure at all levels (on cash accounting basis) at all levels was ₹38 trillion, (equivalent to 27.9 percent of GDP). In the same year, revenue receipts and tax revenue at all levels were ₹28.4 trillion (equivalent to 20.9 percent of GDP), and ₹24.2 trillion (equivalent to 17.8 percent of GDP).
In spite of spending such large share of GDP, outcomes from the government expenditure in terms of public amenities and services, even basic ones, let alone those needed for quality of life, are not commensurate with resources expended. Expanding government expenditure with no changes in either reallocation of expenditure or continuing with ‘business as usual’ will be counterproductive as household burdens in supporting government activities are already high. Hence urgent sustained efforts at obtaining better outcomes are critical for India’s future governance and growth.
It should be stressed that an integral part of obtaining better outcomes is significant improvement in relevant data collection at all levels of government units, a system to manage and analyse the resulting data, and to create appreciation and capabilities among the decision makers and administrators to use data analysis as an integral part of design of programs and schemes, and of their monitoring and evaluation.
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