New Delhi: A parliamentary panel has pulled up the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) for poor budgetary planning and dissatisfactory fund utilization saying it has impacted efforts to provide affordable drugs and medical devices to the poor.
The Standing Committee on Chemicals and Fertilizers (2017-18) dealing with DoP also criticised drug pricing regulator NPPA for under-utilization of allocated funds which could have affected the outreach of its e-initiates and other important functions.
In 2017-18, DoP was allocated Rs 247.74 crore at the budget estimate stage. It was increased to Rs 266.09 crore at the revised estimates stage, the committee said in its report. “…but as on February 9, 2018, the actual expenditure of DoP has been only Rs 190.17 crore which is Rs 75.92 crore short of the allocated budget. This reflects on poor budgetary planning and dissatisfactory fund utilization capacity of the DoP,” it said.
It will also result in the lowering the pace of implementation of all crucial schemes like NIPERs, Jan Aushadhi scheme, and assistance to PSUs, the report added. “This also further contradicts the fund constraint argument given by the department while explaining their inability to fulfil their physical targets under various schemes pending for want of sufficient funds,” it said.
Poor budgetary planning and delays in the utilization of funds have not only affected department’s budgetary performance but have also impacted its “noble mandate” of providing affordable drugs and medical devices to the poor people of the country, it noted.
“The committee therefore strongly recommend the department to stress upon scientific budgetary planning, effectively utilize allocated funds in time bound manner..,” the report said.
While pulling up the NPPA for underutilization of allocated funds, the committee asked the autonomous body to take “sincere steps to optimally utilized the allocated funds”.