Hundreds of civil society organisations and community leaders across
the country are keen to understand policy decisions pertaining to
government budgets and participate meaningfully in discussions on
budgetary priorities. However, the limited transparency in government
budgets in India at different levels (Union Government, State Governments,
and most importantly at the district level) has been a major hindrance
in this regard.
Also, transparency in budgets can help enhance responsible and just decision making by the government machinery, bring in better insights and strategies, encourage timely and effective implementation of budgetary policies, and create public confidence in the willingness as well as the ability of the government to work for people.
With this perspective, People’s Budget Initiative and Global Movement for Budget Transparency, Accountability and Participation call upon the district-level authorities, State Governments and Union Government Ministries to adopt the following measures towards enhancing budget transparency in the country:
- All Union Government Ministries should upload their Detailed Demands for Grants (DDGs) for the last ten years on their respective websites and update the same every year.
- Outcome Budgets for at least five previous years should be made available in the public domain by all Union Government Ministries.
- Results Framework Documents for at least three previous years should be made available on their respective websites by all Union Government Ministries.
- Union Budget documents (brought out by the Finance Ministry) should provide information on State-wise break-up of the allocations and expenditures for various Central Schemes.
- Union Budget allocations for all Central Schemes should be routed through the State Budgets; such expenditure should be brought under the purview of audits by the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) of India.
- Union Government should present information pertaining to the basis on which its Ministries are reporting certain proportions of allocations in their Schemes for the development of Scheduled Castes (under SCSP), Scheduled Tribes (under TSP), women (under Gender Budgeting), and religious minorities (under the PM’s New 15 Point Programme for Minorities).
- Union Government should provide information on commodity-wise details of revenue collected through indirect taxes in the Union Budget.
- The Finance Ministry needs to bring out a Position Paper on revenue foregone due to exemptions in the Central Tax System.
- Union Government should bring out a Pre-Budget Statement every year and make it available to the public at least two months before the presentation of Union Budget in Parliament.
- The complete sets of State Budget documents (including the Detailed Demands for Grants) of the last 10 financial years should be made available on the Finance Department’s website.
- Hard copies of the State Budget documents should be available at all district headquarters.
- Outcome Budgets / Performance Budgets of all Departments for the last three years should be uploaded on their respective websites.
- Union Budget allocations for all Central Schemes should be routed through the State Budgets; and such expenditure should be brought under the purview of audits by the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) of India.
- The State Governments should present information pertaining to the basis on which their Departments are reporting certain proportions of allocations in their Schemes for the development of Scheduled Castes (under SCSP), Scheduled Tribes (under TSP), and women (under Gender Budgeting).
- The State Governments should present a statement with disaggregated information on devolution of funds from the State Budget to the Rural Local Bodies and Urban Local Bodies.
- The State Governments should provide information on district-wise breakup of allocations and expenditures from the State Budget (for both Plan and Non-Plan components of the budget).
- The State Governments should bring out a statement on implementation of the previous year’s budget proposals.
- In adherence with the Right to Information Act, State Government offices should provide information through voluntary disclosure. As per the recommendations of the Act, every public authority should computerise their records and publish information for wide dissemination.
- District-level authorities (of the State Government) should prepare and make public an annual statement on funds received from the Union Government and the State Government.
- Information on institutions / offices, which are involved in Planning, Budgeting, Implementation and Monitoring of programmes and schemes in the District should be made available (for all schemes).
- If there are specific guidelines in the schemes for ensuring that certain proportions of funds or benefits accrue to any disadvantaged section of population (such as, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, religious minorities, women, or persons with disabilities) information on the same should be disseminated widely.
- All information maintained under Management Information System (MIS) in all programmes and schemes should be made public.
- For all schemes that are beneficiary-oriented, complete information on the beneficiaries should be made public.
- Information on Actual Expenditure in a financial year against the Total Funds Available in that year should be made available for all schemes.
- A Statement on the pattern of fund utilisation in schemes over the last five years, with respect to the following parameters, should be made available:
- utilisation of funds (vis-à-vis the allocations) across different components / parts in the scheme;
- utilisation of funds across four quarters in the financial year; and
- utilisation of funds (vis-à-vis the allocations) across different Blocks within the District.
- In adherence with the Right to Information Act, district level government offices should provide information through voluntary disclosure. As per the recommendations of the Act, every public authority should computerise their records and publish information for wide dissemination.
One of the core mandates of People's Budget Initiative is to organize a National Convention on the approaching Union Budget every year to build a common understanding among different stakeholders on critical gaps in public provisioning for important sectors and for arriving at a common set of prioritized policy and budgetary demands for different sectors.