Some reforms in India show benefits of digitalisation: IMF

The introduction of e-procurement in India and Indonesia increased competition and led to a better quality of construction.

Published: 10th April 2019 10:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th April 2019 10:50 AM   |  A+A-

It was already speculated that Pakistan would have to seek a loan package from IMF following the elections held on July 25. (File | Reuters)

By PTI

WASHINGTON: Some reforms in India have shown the benefits of digitalisation which has also reduced the opportunities for discretion and fraud, the IMF said in its latest report on Wednesday.

The introduction of e-procurement in India and Indonesia has also increased competition and led to better quality of construction, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its latest edition of the fiscal monitor report released ahead of its annual spring meeting with the World Bank.

"Some reforms in India show the benefits of digitalisation and reducing opportunities for discretion and fraud," the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its latest edition of the fiscal monitor report released ahead of the its annual spring meeting with the World Bank.

"For example, the adoption of an electronic platform for managing a social assistance programme in India resulted in a 17 per cent decline in spending with no corresponding decline in benefits," it said.

Similarly, in Andhra Pradesh, the use of smart ID cards that are used to identify beneficiaries of specific programmes and improve beneficiaries' access to information helped reduce leakage by 41 per cent relative to the control group, it said.

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According to the Fiscal Monitor report, studies on public procurement show that the design of procedures can have a significant impact on the prices and quality of products.

The introduction of e-procurement in India and Indonesia also increased competition and led to better quality of construction, it said.

External scrutiny by Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs), parliaments and civil society helps safeguard the integrity of public finances and hold civil servants and elected officials accountable, the IMF said, adding that focused audits can help fight corruption by identifying waste and miss-management.

"For example, social audits have been in place in India since 2005 to oversee the implementation of a large job guarantee programme and to fight corruption in the programme," it said.

These audits were endorsed and supported by the Indian SAI and relied on the strong and direct participation of citizens, the IMF said, adding that SAIs also help promote integrity by reviewing the reliability of the internal control and audit framework.

In its fiscal report, the IMF said the interim federal government budget of February 2019 envisages a slower pace of adjustment than previously planned, primarily due to the newly announced rural farm income-support scheme.

"IMF staff projections are that the achievement of the federal government deficit target of three per cent of GDP will likely be delayed and that the debt target of 40 per cent of GDP will be achieved after 2024," it said.

On the other hand in China, the government plans a more proactive fiscal stance for 2019 that would include reductions in the value-added, personal income and corporate income tax rates.

General government debt is projected to rise over the medium term to over 72 per cent of the GDP by 2024, the IMF added.

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