The IEO has been mandated to conduct evaluations of plan programmes, especially the large flagship programmes to assess their effectiveness, relevance and impact. It also has the freedom to conduct independent evaluations on any programme which has access to public funding or Implicit or explicit guarantees from the Government. The work programme of the IEO will be prepared through an open process of consultations, including feedback from civil society and made public for all to see.
The evaluation reports of the IEO will be submitted to Parliament and the Prime Minister's office. The IEO has the authority to make all it's findings public without any interference from the Government. These will be made available through its website.
Functions of IEO include:
- Help improve the effectiveness of government policies and programmes by assessing their impact and outcomes. The IEO will prepare the terms of reference for all independent evaluations.
- Set guidelines and methodology for all evaluations done by various departments and agencies and encourage a culture of openness and learning in government systems.
- Connect India to the best international evaluated evidence in development practice and knowledge to learn from others success and mistakes.
Areas of focus
The IEO will initially focus on three main challenges:
1. Delivering Public Services and Flagship Programs: The inability to implement and deliver public services is well known but as to why India finds it so difficult to deliver public services is a puzzle. India has many national flagship programs with ambitious goals but their delivery remains very uneven. In 2013-14, India has budgeted around Rs 200,000 crores ( roughly $ 30 billion) for its flagship programs to improve a range of basic services.
2. Inequity and Disaster Management: India has had a large social assistance program for a long time – largely built around product based subsidies. Over the last five years India’s explicit subsidy bill in the budget has increased by almost 1 percent of GDP – and now is almost 2.4% of GDP, however, there is very little focus on how to deliver social protection in an efficient and cost effective manner to people.
3. Dynamic Economics Scenario: India liberalised its license control regime after 1991, and opened its trade account which attracted substantial increases in investment. For a while the economy grew rapidly but lately India has suffered a decline in investment and FDI has fallen. Indian business has also started investing outside the country. There is a growing sense that doing business in India is difficult.
The IEO will prepare the terms of referenced or all independent evaluations which will be conducted by selected institutes and researchers identified on a competitive basis.