Background

In recent years, NGOs working with the poor have feared that the government policies of privatisation would cause hardship when the government pulled back from health, education, food security, environmental protection etc. Liberalisation, privatisation, and globalisation policies, it was feared, would influence the economy, society and culture. Liberal policies would make the rich richer and the poor poorer through the opening up of the home market to the multinationals as well as by inviting competition between the stronger and weaker sections. Such policies have the core idea of withdrawing the spirit of supporting and protecting the relatively weaker sections and contributing to the growth of an unbalanced socio-economic structure. In the last 15 years, this fear has been proved to be true if we look at the trends of many of the socio-economic development indicators, e.g. health, education, the condition of women and children, tribal community, marginal farmers, village industrial sector, urban small entrepreneurs etc.

The Budget Analysis Rajasthan Centre (BARC) was established in 2002 in response to a study conducted by Astha from 1996 to 1998 in ten districts of Rajasthan. This study was carried out in order to assess the impacts of the New Economic Policy, Structural Adjustment Programme, liberalization, privatization and globalization upon the poor people of Rajasthan. This study uncovered deteriorating conditions of the families in the areas of health, food security, employment, income, agriculture, education and credit.

BARC, set up in January 2002, was designed to help those working with the poor at the local levels, to learn how to use the budget data in their planning and advocacy work. The role of the Center is to analyze the Rajasthan state budgets and public policies from a pro-poor and marginalized people’s perspective in an attempt to promote transparent, accountable, participatory governance, and a people-centered perspective with regard to the preparation and implementation of budgets. It seeks to attempt to build partnerships with members of the Budget Analysis network in India, and at the same time, to act as a “watch dog”. The Center protects and strengthens the monitoring work of like-minded people while also looks into the common people’s issues and joins in lobbying work. It interprets and analyses the budget figures combined with other data. The Center is also involved in emphasizing issues that affect the daily lives of the tribals, women, and agricultural laborers, such as health, education, water, drought, food, security, and employment.

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