Odisha Budget and Accountability Centre, OBAC, as a constituent of CYSD, has been working on budget research and advocacy, since 2003. Works of the center includes budget research, budget literacy, and evidence based advocacy for pro-poor budgeting and policy practice. The centre also promotes accountability tools like Community Score Card, Citizen Report Card, Social Audit, Expenditure Tracking and community led monitoring for enhancing the effectiveness of public services. It encourages people’s active participation in decentralized planning and budgeting process in Odisha. The center has been holding pre-Budget consultation since 2007 on a sustained basis.
The key areas of the center are:
- Micro State budget Analysis
- Social Sector Budget Analysis (Health, Water& Sanitation, Food&Nutrition Security, Education, Social Security)
- Budget for Disadvantaged Groups (Women, Children, STs, SCs)
- Agriculture and Livelihoods
- Decentralized Planning and Budgeting
- Citizen led Accountability of basic services (PDS, ICDS, Maternal Health, Water & Sanitation etc)
Genesis of Budget Work in CYSD:
Participatory governance is one of CYSD’s core thematic areas alongside Sustainable Rural Livelihood and Building Disaster Resilient Community. Lack of participation, transparency and accountability in governance are the triggering factors for CYSD to take up budget analysis and advocacy for increased and intense public discourse on it. Precisely, budget work has been a part of overall organizational strategy for transparent and accountable governance since 2003. The progress of budget work;
2003: Inception of Budget Work in CYSD through understanding state budget process and defining the role of civil society
2004-07: Systemic Intervention through enhancing budget literacy among citizen’s and macro level analysis on the implications of budget priorities
2007-10: Intensifying the analysis and advocacy through facilitation of Citizen’s Charter of Demand, analysis on revenue generation and expenditure tracking at community level
2010: Inauguration of Odisha Budget and Accountability Centre (OBAC), a dedicated center for Budget and policy analysis
Objective of Budget Work
Budget is not merely a financial statement but an instrument which translates government’s commitments into reality prioritizing its people’s need. It is imperative that State’s budget making process extends room for citizen’s engagement in order to verify if the critical needs of the poor and marginalized are being addressed. It is essential to ensure participation of people in four crucial phases of governance i.e., policies and plans, budget and expenditure, delivery of services and goods and public oversight
The Budget analysis work in OBAC aims at
• Analyze resource allocation on regional and local bodies and spending under the framework of equity and fiscal decentralization.
• Enhance the outreach and quality of public expenditures through intensive research and citizens’ dialogue with the policy makers of the State.
• Strengthen budget advocacy through creating a knowledge base on sectoral allocation and expenditure along with the ground level bottlenecks concerning implementation of development schemes and programmes. This initiative aims to equip the academics, researchers and scholar, development players, citizens from varied social and professional background and media to discuss budget with state to ensure effective allocation for the poor, marginalized, backward and excluded mass.
• Raise people’s participation through citizen’s consultation for budget preparation with inputs from civil society, media, academic and political activists
• Bring in accountability in governance through intensive debate and discourse on State’s promises Vs budget and policy priorities
• Bring in transparency in governance through questioning on budget priorities by the Citizen’s Watch groups and media. Quality debate by the legislatures during assembly sessions
• Deepen citizen led monitoring through using accountability tools like budget tracking, CRC, CSC etc.
• Network and alliance building with national and state level likeminded organization for larger consensus and opinion building
• Build citizenship through budget and policy literacy among different citizenry groups for informed debates on policy and priorities of State