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Webinar Series: Reforms in Public Financial Management Systems in India

September 13-27, 2021


International evidence has shown that a strong PFM system is critical for operational and allocative efficiency and sustainability of public expenditure. Indian PFM systems, across the centre and the states, have undergone sporadic, disparate, and incremental changes over a number of years.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of the PFM system and has forced governments to adopt rapid remedial measures such as reprogramming / reprioritising expenditures, easing procurement processes, expediting execution modalities, and arranging for liquidity with all the attendant risks. The pandemic has, thus, highlighted the need to deepen and strengthen the PFM architecture and, thereby, change the way governments manage public money.

In building the post-COVID-19 recovery, the nature of fiscal governance and the quality and direction of public spending, especially infrastructure investment, will play a key role. Across countries, and especially in India, with resources being tight, governments will need to carefully redirect spending to the productive sectors with higher multiplier effects on rebuilding inclusive growth.

For this, all tiers of government will need better fiscal governance—strong institutions and frameworks to plan, allocate, implement, report, and assess the quality of public spending and public infrastructure. The fiscal challenges brought on by the pandemic have heightened the urgency to strengthen the PFM system in India.

In this context, the Centre for Social and Economic Progress (CESP) in coordination with the World Bank is organising three seminars in September 2021 to examine and explore the need and opportunities for reforms in fiscal governance and the PFM system in India. 

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    Session: Fiscal Governance

    • Date & Time: September 13, 2021, 5:00 - 6:30 pm IST
    • Register here:

    The governments at the centre and the state level immediately require considerable resources for dealing with the pandemic and for stimulating the economy. Given the contraction of the economy, it would be difficult to raise the additional resources from the regular tax and non-tax revenues. The challenge would be to raise the required resources in a sustainable manner and spend them wisely.

    The FFC has made a number of recommendations on fiscal governance also recommended institutional reforms to strengthen fiscal governance. Toward this, the FFC underlined building an inter-governmental forum including the centre, states, and critical stakeholders such as the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to chart out an action plan for implementing these reforms consistently across the centre and the states.

    Among the other institutional measures referred to by the FFC is the establishment of an independent fiscal council, at the central and the state level, to undertake ex-ante assessment. This webinar will discuss these and related recommendations.


    Opening Remarks: Rakesh Mohan, President and Distinguished Fellow, CSEP

    Moderator: Anoop Singh, Distinguished Fellow, CSEP


    1. N.K. Singh, President, Institute of Economic Growth and Chairman, Fifteenth Finance Commission

    2. Sean Dougherty, Senior Advisor and Head of Secretariat, OECD Network on Fiscal Relations across Levels of Government

    3. Rajiv Mehrishi, 13th Comptroller and Auditor General of India

    4. Yamini Aiyar, President and Chief Executive, Centre for Policy Research

    Closing Remarks: Junaid Ahmad, India Country Director, World Bank


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    Session: Taking stock of the PFM reforms – the road ahead

    • Date & Time: September 20, 2021, 5:00 - 6:30 pm IST
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    The PFM reforms in India have been uniform across the country. Many of them both at the centre and in the states have been limited to some departments or aspects of the PFM like the Treasury Computerization (FMIS) in the states or the PFMS at the centre. There is now a need to evolve and agree on a comprehensive PFM reform strategy for both the Union and the States recognizing the need for policy, regulatory and institutional reforms.

    Among some of the key recommendations made by the FFC are:

    • Accountability and transparency
    • Macroeconomic and Fiscal Forecasting
    • Strategic Budget and Planning 
    • Performance Orientation of Budgets

    This webinar will examine what reforms have already been implemented; and, what are the challenges remaining despite such reforms. Using international evidence, the seminar will discuss specific steps to build a public financial management framework in India that would bring clarity to the roles and responsibilities of various functionaries and entities, fill the gaps in accountability, enhance the oversight by the legislature and civil society and strengthen the areas of fiscal responsibility, budget management, and financial management, including accounting and reporting.


    Opening Remarks: Hisham Waly, Practice Manager, World Bank

    Moderator: Manoj Jain, Lead Governance Specialist, World Bank


    1. Pinaki Chakraborty, Director, National Institute for Public Finance and Policy

    2. Akhil Arora, Principal Secretary (Finance), Government of Rajasthan

    3. Prabodh Saxena, Additional Chief Secretary (Finance), Government of Himachal Pradesh

    4. Mridul Saggar, Executive Director, Reserve Bank of India

    5. Vidhu Sood, Principal Director, Comptroller and Auditor General of India

    Closing Remarks: Anoop Singh, Distinguished Fellow, CSEP

  • Session: The need for an overarching PFM Law and other practical steps

    • Date & Time: September 27, 2021, 5:00 - 6:30 pm IST
    • Register here:

    Will an overarching PFM framework, with legislative strength, improve accountability and transparency and, thereby, improve governance? How best can such a framework be built?

    Given the reality that the States are not subordinate to the Union, but both derive their existence and powers from the Constitution of India, how can an overarching and consistent PFM be created which is uniform across all governments and, at the same time, leave some flexibility for the stakeholders. This legislative framework needs to be developed in consultation with the States and other relevant stakeholders, and the nature of its implementation agreed. What is the best way such consultation can be sought to build such a public financial management framework that would bring this critical pillar of India’s fiscal architecture to global best practices?

    The webinar will explore the possible next steps to having a comprehensive PFM legislation that would  titch the pieces together as it were.


    Opening remarks: Rakesh Mohan, President and Distinguished Fellow, CSEP

    Moderator: Kandarp Patel, Director, National Academy of Audit and Accounts


    1. Manal Fouad, Chief, Public Financial Management II Division, Fiscal Affairs Department, International Monetary Fund

    2. S. Krishnan, Additional Chief Secretary (Finance), Government of Tamil Nadu

    3. Ashok Meena, Principal Secretary (Panchayati Raj & Drinking Water), Government of Odisha

    4. R.M. Johri, Additional Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General (GASAB), Comptroller and Auditor General of India

    5. Subodh Mathur, Former Additional Controller General of Accounts, Office of Controller General of Accounts

    Closing Remarks: Hideki Mori, India Manager (Operations), World Bank