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Panel under Jalan set up to suggest ways to cut subsidies

New Delhi, Aug 13 (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday set up an Expenditure Management Commission, headed by former Reserve Bank of India Governor Bimal Jalan, that will suggest ways to reduce food, fertiliser and oil subsidies and narrow the fiscal deficit.

The Commission is expected to submit its interim report before Budget 2015-16 and the final report before Budget 2016-17, an official statement said.

Former finance secretary Sumit Bose and former RBI deputy governor Subir Gokarn are members of the Commission.

The additional secretary to the department of Expenditure under the finance ministry will be an ex-officio member and a senior officer with finance/expenditure experience will be member-secretary, it said.

Jalan told PTI that the terms for reference would be shortly issued.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech had announced setting of a Commission that will look into various aspects of expenditure reforms to be undertaken by the Government.

The panel has been set up as there is a need to review the allocative and operational efficiencies of the government expenditure to achieve maximum output.

Jaitley had said: “I also propose to overhaul the subsidy regime, including food and petroleum subsidies, and make it more targeted while providing full protection to the marginalised, poor and SC/STs. A new urea policy would also be formulated.”

The subsidy bill on food, petroleum and fertilisers is estimated at Rs 2,51,397.25 crore for 2014-15, up 2.47 per cent over the previous fiscal. It was Rs 2,45,451.50 crore in the revised estimates for 2013-14.