In recent years, NGOs working with the poor have feared that the government policies of privatization would cause hardship when the government pulled back from health, education, food security, environmental protection etc. Liberalization, privatization, and globalization 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 likeminded 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 tribes, women, and agricultural laborers, such as health, education, water, drought, food, security, and employment.
Why Budget Analysis ?
Budget analysis, when added to field data and case-study material, strengthens advocacy and lobbying work. Hence this Budget Analysis Centre intends to study the Rajasthan State Budget by interacting with NGOs and activists who are working in the field. In addition, the Centre collects primary data directly from the field for its micro-studies. We believe that when the secondary data on budget—analyzed by the Centre—would be combined with the field data about employment, food security, health facilities, and other “life and death” matters, it would be able to strengthen the lobbying work because the results of our studies would finally be combined with people’s voices, reaching both the voters and the elected representatives, both of whom play important roles in our democratic process. Thus, budget analysis would strengthen People’s Action.
Vision and Mission
To ensure the rights of each poor person to survive”with dignity” by eliminating the skewed pattern offund/resource allocation through redistributive measures.
1. To demystify the huge and tricky numbers presented in the budget books by the Rajasthan Government through, quality analysis.
2. To build capacity in the civil society organizations and people’s organizations, with an objective to strengthen their pressure group work and networking. As a result, we believe, greater public expenditure for meeting basic needs will be made – in other words, greater realization of basic rights of the poor (e.g. the right to food, the right to livelihood, the right to education, the right to health, the right to housing, the right to development etc.).
3. To sensitize the legislators regarding the limited financial provisions for the poor and the rural areas, and also to build their capacity so that their voices get stronger in the Assembly and in other forums. The increased knowledge, understanding and sensitivity will enable them to guide the bureaucrats – with
proper suggestions including facts and figures — in the processes of policy formulation as well as policy implementation. And, of course, budget-aware legislators can increase budget allocations in favour of the poor and socially excluded sections of society.
4. To understand the tricky processes of financial decentralisation and thereby share our understanding with the Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) members and other local actors in order to build their capacity to understand and monitor the budget making process and financial allocations under different schemes. Strengthened, their voices can be more effective for greater decentralization and transparency in terms of resource distribution from the top to bottom.
5. To understand the gap between the measures taken by the State and Centre to address the dire needs of the poor, and how far things have improved in reality at the grass-root level; and to communicate such understanding to a cross-section of society through different means.
6. To draw the attention of the media to the issues pertaining to the limited distribution of resources for the poor, and to the other lacunas in the economic distributive system, and thereby, to point out the need for “redistributive policies”. The Centre will use the media to share concerns, and to disseminate the
analysis work done.
1. To analyze Rajasthan State Budgets and to pull out the findings, highlighting the relevant aspects from the perspective of the poor and marginalized.
2. To organize budget orientation meetings for civil society organizations, people’s organizations and others in different regions of Rajasthan.
3. To organize issue-based budget orientation meetings for the capacity building of the concerned issue- related organizations, and others as well.
4. To organize budget orientation meetings for the state legislators and help them by sending questions relating to the anomalies in funding and expenditures, and other related matters.
5. To carry out experimental events with members of selected Gram Panchayats, and to work with elected representatives of the Panchayats, enabling them to have a better understanding about the budget making processes at the local level, the need-based demands of the local bodies and the overall financial decentralisation process.
6. To organize budget orientation meetings for the PRI members in different parts of Rajasthan.
7. To conduct micro-studies on different issues and schmes, incorporating field-level data collection and analysis.
8. To disseminate our analysed findings, research results etc. through the publications of booklets, newsletters etc.
9. To organize press conferences and to share the findings of our analysis with the media.
10. To encourage different organizations and people, including MLAs, to come to us for budget information, and thereafter satisfy their queries with data and information.
11. To attend and participate in different meetings and share our views with others, to strengthen network and collective action.
12. To visit other Budget Centres in the country in order to learn from their experiences.
The Key Objectives
1. To identify what are the budget priorities in the Rajasthan Government in the state budget books.
2. To see whether the Rajasthan Government is withdrawing its budget allocations to good schemes and provisions for the poor men, women and children of the state.
3. To facilitate public discourse on budget governance issues, encourage citizen’s participation in budget governance, and advance the rights of those most deprived.
4. To help civil society organizations to learn how to strengthen their advocacy and lobbying work by using budget data.
5. To advocate for a pro-people, pro-poor, and pro-marginalized perspective in budget allocations.
6. To demystify the budget by making it and the other budget-related documents, transparent, user friendly, and readable by the public.
7. To make known how poor people are left out from the budget policies and priorities.
8. To examine budget spending trends and the impact of budget policies on the poor.
Activities and Programmes
BARC engages itself in a variety of activities to achieve its broader objectives of strengthening the democracy and empowering the marginalized people of the state. Besides analyzing and studying the state budget and polices from a pro poor pro marginalized perspective and presenting it to the MLAs, the government officials, civil society and people’s organizations and media the Centre also conducts workshops and meetings with MLAs, people’s organizations and media. Some of the planned activities we conduct in the process are following:
Workshop with MLAs
BARC organizes budget orientation meetings for the MLAs of Rajasthan more than once in a year. We share our analysis and findings with MLAs which they raise in the Vidhan Sabah. The MLAs also express their concerns and their areas of interests on which they would like BARC to focus.
Working with Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) / Local Bodies
We conduct workshops with members of PRIs and local bodies in Rajasthan state. We discuss with elected members of PRIs the budget making process at PRI level, micro planning and budget provisions and various schemes for PRIs etc. The PRIs also share the practices of budget making and planning and it’s a mutual learning process for BARC team. The objectives are to come out with a training and working manual on budget and planning for PRIs.
We organize four issue based meetings focusing on any one issue of public concern. Through issue based meetings, we try to give in-depth knowledge and information to the participants who come from the NGOs/peoples organizations working on the specific issue taken for the each meeting.
Regional Budget Orientation and Awareness Workshops
Every year we organize three regional budget awareness meetings in 3 different parts of the state. Main objectives of these meetings is to focus on overall budget analysis work as well as budgets of some major departments related to social and economic issues.
We conduct some micro studies in every year with the purpose of making an assignment of the impact of the government policies and expenditures on the poor and marginalized people. These micro studies also explore linkages between policy, budget and actual situations at the grass-root level.