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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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1. What is RFD ?

A RFD provides a summary of the most important results that Department/ Ministry expect to achieve during the financial year.

2. What is the main purpose of RFD ?

RFD has two main purposes;
(a) Move the  focus  of  the  department  from resource-allocation to result orientation. 
(b) Provide  an  objective  and  fair  basis  to evaluate department's overall performance at the end of the year.

3. Who uses RFD ?

People representatives; Principal Secretaries/Secretaries of respective departments, Reviewing and Implementing Officers/implementing staff and Citizens.

4. Why do we need RFD ?

RFD is essentially a  record of understanding between the Minister representing the people's mandate and  the Principal  Secretary/Secretary of the Department responsible for implementing this mandate.
It addresses three basic questions:
(a) What are department's main objectives for the year ?
(b) What  actions are proposed  to  achieve these objectives ?
(c) What are the relevant success indicators
and their targets to know the degree of progress made in implementing these actions ?
RFD also provides direction to the department.It helps maintain continuity by setting  targets each year. It helps the concerned Minister to review and keep abreast of the progress of the departmental

5. What is the impact of RFD on the functioning of government departments in India?

We recently came across a neat piece of quantitative evidence that is worth a glance by our friends. As you can see from the enclosed PowerPoint presentation, before we introduced a success indicator for measuring performance with respect to Grievance Redress in RFD, there difference between grievances received and disposed was significant. In 2009, only 50% of grievances registered on the computerized grievance redress system were disposed. In 2013, after three years of RFD implementation the disposal rate is 100%. The data for this statistic is generated and owned by another department in Government of India, the Department of Administrative Reform and Public Grievances(DARPG), so there is no conflict of interest in presenting it as evidence. According to DARPG, before Grievance Redress became a mandatory performance requirement in RFDs, it was widely ignored. Hence, DARPG If RFD has modified behaviour in this area, it is reasonable to believe that it has had impact in other areas as well.

Impact of RFD

6. Why should a department state the Vision, Mission, Objectives and Functions ?

The department should state Vision, Mission, Objectives and Functions for Strategic Platming Exercise. Also, aligning these with each other and the allocation of business for the department builds a sense of ownership among the employees.

7. What is a Strategic Planning Exercise ?

A Strategic Planning  Exercise involves; 

(a) prioritizing objectives,
(b) assigning relative weights to the objectives,
(c) specifying means (action) to achieve  these objectives,
(d) specifying  success indicators to measure the impact/outputs,
(e) assigning relative weights to success indicators  and
(f)  specifying targets for success  indicators.
Of the above a to f: a and b have to be arrived  at by the Minister in consultation with the Principal Secretary/Secretary/HoD of the department. Principal Secretary/Secretary/HoD to evolve  c, d, e  and  f in  consultation with the implementing agencies.

8. Who decides priorities in RFD ?

The Minister in-charge will decide the inter se priorities among departmental objectives.

9. When to take up prioritization ?

The  prioritization must be made at  the time of formulating the budget proposals.

10. How to assign relative weights to the objectives ?

Objectives are the desired "end". The key objectives are selected from the list of objectives. The key objectives are prioritized and assigned weights based on their importance and relevance. The weights of all the objectives must add to 100.

11. How to specify means(action) ?

The policies, programmes and projects associated with the objectives are the desired "means". These are listed as "actions"3 under each objective to achieve the "end".

12. How to specify success indicators ?

Success indicators are also known as 'Key Performance Indicators (KPis)' or 'Key Result Areas (KPAs)'. Success indicators are identified for each action. There can be one or more success indicators for an action. The success indicators identified will be assigned weights.Success indicators must ideally measure the outcomes and impacts. However,sometimes due to lack of data one is able to measure activities and outputs.

13. How to assign relative weights to success indicators ?

After assigning weights to the key objectives and stating the means/action, success indicators are listed against each action. The actions and success indicator for one identified objective have to be assigned weights. This would indicate the priority/ relevance of the action and also success indicator to achieve the objective. The weights of the objectives must be split among the various success indicators.

14. How to ensure a common understanding of success indicators among all ?

The success indicators must be described in detail in Section 4 of the RFD. The proposed measurement methodology must also be provided along with rationale in order to ensure a common understanding among all.

15. Why should the unit of success indicator be mentioned ?

Success indicators are either measured in absolute numbers or in percentages. Mentioning the unit of success indicators provides clarity in understanding the progress made with regards the most important results of the department. Also, the success help focus on the results while providing an objective and fair basis to evaluate the department's overall performance at the end of the year.

16. How to specify targets for success indicators ?

The targets are specified on a five point scale as follows;


Very Good









 The targets set must be achievable. For any performance below 60% the department would get a score of 0%.

17. What is the intended use of success indicators ?

The success indicators help the supervisory and implementing officers to track progress, take up mid-course corrections, monitor and also evaluate using trend values for success indicators. Further, the targets associated with the success indicators provide clarity in measuring progress.

18. How to specify objectives, actions and success indicators when other departments are involved to achieve the objectives ?

The specific performance requirements from other departments that are critical for delivering the agreed results must be mentioned. Against each objective the action to be taken by the other department and the success indicator must be clearly indicated. For example: The objective of Health Department is to provide access to citizens for primary health care. For this it is essential to establish Primary Health Centres (PHCs). The construction of the PHCs is generally taken up by the PWD. In this context, unless the PWD constructs the buildings the Health Department cannot achieve the target of providing access to a specific population. The success indicators have to be stated considering the involvement of both the departments against the actions required to achieve the objectives. Similarly, if administrative or technical sanctions are required to be obtained from the competent authorities the action, success indicators and targets have to be aligned.

19. What is meant by Results?

(general meaning) : The  conclusion  or  end  to  which  any  scheme/project /programme leads, or which is obtained by any process or operation; consequence or effect; as, the result of a course of action.

(in the context of RFD) : The outcomes of the department’s efforts for the year.

20. How to match Results with Resources ?

Resources include Human resources,Financial resources and Material resources. In the context of RFD we need to consider the Financial resources and link it to the results achieved.

Percentage of objectives achieved for that particular year against the resources provided.

e) It gives an annual perspective of outcomes.

e)   It is a   long   term perspective of outcomes.


f) It involves selection of key departmental objectives, assigning relative weights to the objectives, specifying means, success indicators and targets for achieving these objectives.

f) For understanding the objectives of the scheme it   captures   the   inputs/ interventions and outcomes. Against these it measures the physical components and beneficiaries. The financial allocations along with Head of Account are also indicated.

21. How to ensure ownership of RFD across Departments ?

Through workshops/advocacy which helps to appreciate the significance of using RFD from the top level managers to implementation Level officers. This approach proved effective in launching MPlC.

22. (A) What happens if results are not achieved as shown ?

After six months the RFD and achievements have to reviewed against the performance goals laid down at the beginning of the year.

22. (B) How often is the departmental performance reviewed against RFD targets ?

A High Power Committee reviews RFDs and the goals may be reset taking into account the priorities at that point of time.

At the end of the year HPC reviews the final achievements against the targets in the RFD.

23. Will it be part of Annual Report for the department/ministry ?

RFD should be a part and one of the source documents for preparing Annual Report for the department/ministry.

24. What are the in-house authentic references to prepare RFD ?

Policy documents, sanction proposals of the scheme, Budget proposals, Departmental Medium Term Fiscal Plan(DMTFP), Departmental Medium Term Expenditure Framework (DMTEF), Annual Report, Performance Budget, Budget speech, etc.,

25. How and when to measure Results and disclose such results ? 

The department/s  should  review and  prepare  a report listing  the achievements  of their ministry/ department against the agreed results at the end of the year.  

26. Does the aggregated  RFDs  mean. it is a total annual performance of Govt for given funds ?


27. Do we need to reflect Plan and Non-Plan schemes ?


28. How does RFD benefit Department functionaries ?

RFD helps to keep a track on the agreed objectives against the success indicators and to rate the performance of the department at the end of the year.