Punjab is now among a handful of states in India to have completely automated Plan Formulation and Budget Preparation processes, using Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) for the third year in a row now. Though it would be the third time that the state would achieve this feat, there are many innovative enhancements made this time around. pulging the details, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Finance Minister, Punjab said that introduction of the performance budget in this year's planning outlay is the key highlight of the Budget (FY 2014-15). The performance budget (also called the Outcome Budget) seeks to link the planning schemes to their outcomes. It would be a landmark financial reform which shall enable the state in monitoring the outcome of the planning outlays allocated to different plan schemes and weed out the non performing schemes. In addition Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) has also been able to achieve a seamless integration between the plan outlays (prepared by the State Planning Board) and the plan budgetary outlays (prepared by the Finance Department), which ensures the accurate depiction of different components of the plan outlay in the budget books.
A spokesperson of the Department informed that Plan Formulation and Budget Preparation typically begin with departments sending online proposals to the Finance Department and the State Planning Board for the Planning outlays and Budget respectively. The users in the Finance Department and the Planning Board then scrutinize the proposals based on the real-time information of expenditure in the current year and budgetary outlays of the previous year and discreetly decide upon the coming year's outlay.He said that the IFMS, web application developed and supported by Tata Consultancy Services, has not only enabled the Punjab’s Finance Department and the State Planning Board to prepare Budget Books and Plan Documents online and shed their dependence on the paper driven processes but also integrate the Disbursement and the receipt from the state treasuries and present the real-time picture of the state's public finance to the decision makers. “Punjab is now a pioneer state in devising new processes and embracing the web based technology in managing its finances” he added.