Genesis and Goals
The key to substantive democracy is active involvement of the people in every aspect of governance; and budgets as an important instrument of governance are no exception. However, the budget-making process in India has been closed and largely opaque. It is in this context that a number of civil society organisations got together in 2006 to form the People's Budget Initiative. This coalition has been striving to promote the involvement of civil society in the budget process of the Union Government every year, since 2006, by creating a platform where civil society activists articulate key demands and expectations from the forthcoming Union Budget.
The central idea of PBI is to democratize budgets by giving people's voice its due space in the budget processes. Over the last several years, the reach of PBI has grown and more than three hundred organisations from twenty different States have joined its efforts. In doing so, it provides a much needed platform at the national level that promotes participation of CSOs and people’s movements in the discussions on priorities for the Union Budget every year.Through its many efforts over the last few years, PBI has highlighted the needs of the most disadvantaged sections of society and critical social sectors in the context of the Union Budget.
Over the last several years, the experiences of PBI have led coalition to broaden its mandate and take up new aspirations pertaining to the involvement of civil society organisations in budget processes of the Union Government.
As a result, the PBI now aims to accomplish the following:
- Empowering civil society organisations and people’s movements in different regions to participate in the discourse on priorities for the Union Budget as well as those for the State Budgets, articulating the needs and expectations of people as reflected in their grassroot level experiences;
- Inducing an improvement in transparency in the flow of funds and their utilization in government programmes/schemes; and
- Strengthening the efforts of grassroots-level civil society groups and community groups to hold the government accountable for its policies and budgets.
Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), New Delhi serves as the Secretariat of PBI.