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3:35 am - Monday February 19, 2018

$300mn ADB loan to boost fiscal reforms in West Bengal

Agencies, New Delhi

The Asian Development Bank has approved a 300 million dollar loan to boost the ongoing fiscal reforms in West Bengal. India inked an agreement to this effect with ADB here on Tuesday.

The Second West Bengal Development Finance Program targets a further increase in public investment through reduction of unproductive expenditure, and savings from efficiencies in revenue collections.

The program will build an earlier intervention under Phase I of the project through the $400 million that targeted a comprehensive fiscal consolidation programme in the state.

“The Program aims to further deepen the reforms with focus on expenditure rationalization, improvement in revenue administration, and facilitation of more private investment in the state” said Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs Ministry of Finance Sameer Kumar Khare, who signed the loan on behalf of the Government of India.

“The new Program will create the fiscal space necessary to sustain higher public investment in the State which could put the state’s finances on a balanced and sustainable path,” ADB Country Director for India Kenichi Yokoyama said.

The program agreement was signed by West Bengal Finance Secretary Parwez Ahmad Siddiqui. The new program will not only target public investment but also support private investments more directly by creating an infrastructure facility to support project preparation, development, and appraisal with emphasis on public-private partnerships in health and education.

It also seeks to simplify the registration and licensing procedure for micro, small and medium enterprises. Spread over two years, the program will also carry forward reforms such as linking medium term expenditure plans to actual budgets, supported by strengthening internal audit system, and enhancements in the integrated financial management system (IFMS).

Other activities under the program include improved tax monitoring and continued support for information technology systems in strengthening tax and land administration.

Accompanying the loan is a technical assistance grant of $500,000 to strengthen key institutions responsible for carrying out fiscal management reforms in the state.

Posted in: Business

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