Involve people in making budget: Civil society group

New Delhi


A group of civil society organisations Saturday urged the finance ministry to hold an annual consultation to ensure people's participation in the pre-budget processes.

People's Budget Initiative (PBI), a coalition of 400 civil society organisations from 23 states, called for increased participation of people in the budget process to ensure greater transparency and accountability.

"Much of the flaws in poor planning and coverage of social welfare programmes for the most marginalised populations stemmed from the lack of transparency and non-participation of affected communities in setting budgetary priorities," said Subrat Das of Center for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), involved in monitoring the budget.

One of the major demands of the coalition was ensuring greater transparency and accountability for the proper utilisation of budgets earmarked for Schedule Caste Sub Plan (SCSP).

"Currently only 2.47 percent is allocated for Scheduled Caste (SC) schemes and 1.3 percent of Scheduled Tribes (ST) schemes while the policy clearly states 16.2 percent and 8.2 percent for SCs and STs should be set apart for schemes and projects exclusively for the benefit of these communities," said Paul Divakar, representing National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights.

Explaining flaws in budgets, Ravi Duggal, programme officer, International Budget Partnership, said: "When one analyzes the budget committed to policy goals like universal access to healthcare, right to education and others, one finds that the resources needed to realise these goals have not been committed to."

"Unless budgets are worked out on the basis of actual costing of the needs and demands that have to be translated into service delivery, no policy can be realised effectively," he said.- IANS