Budget Work in India

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Budgets have always been recognized as an important economic and policy instrument of the government, having a direct and significant impact on citizens, particularly on the poor and marginalized. It is for this reason that examining and analyzing budgets by civil society groups has been critical in understanding how priorities for public spending are impacting the lives of the poor. More critically, budget analysis by civil society groups has emerged as innovative means of strategic engagement with the state in promoting people-centric and inclusive governance by advocating for appropriate resource allocations and utilisation of government funds on the ground.

NFI with the support of Ford Foundation is supporting several state-level budget groups including Samarthan Centre for Budget Studies in Maharashtra, Sanket Development Group in Madhya Pradesh, Budget Analysis Rajasthan Centre in Rajasthan, Centre for Rural Studies and Development in Andhra Pradesh, Centre for Youth and Social Development in Odisha and Pathey Trust in Gujrat in spearheading budget reforms in the country. As one of the key players in the budget arena, NFI is committed to strengthening and deepening the budget discourse and practice from a social equity perspective.

The thrust of the partnerships is on strengthening and deepening budget analysis based on social equity and justice; building platforms for cross-learning and coalition building among groups; enhancing the capacities, skills and knowledge-base of budget partners; mobilizing and raising resources for expanding and initiating new lines of work; and lastly, on deliberating and envisioning the future work on budgets in India.

In addition, NFI has set up an Advisory Group to provide overall strategic direction to our budget work portfolio. The members include domain experts , who have worked extensively on budget issues in India such as Father Manu Alphonse, Social Watch Tamil Nadu; Dr. Gopakumar R. Thampi, Fellow of Institute of Governance Studies, Dhaka; Mr. Ravi Duggal, International Budget Partnership; Dr. Yogesh Kumar, Samarathan; Mr. Subrat Das, Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability; Ms. Yamini Mishra, UN Women (Special Invitee). Facilitating such a group to catalyze, implement and take forward budget ideas has been central to NFI’s effort of nurturing innovative budget practices as instruments of social change.

Further, to engender the ongoing budget discourse and practice in India, NFI with the support of UN Women is supporting six state budget groups Life Education and Development Support in Jharkhand, Sanket Development Group in Madhya Pradesh, Budget Analysis Rajasthan Centre in Rajasthan, Centre for Rural Studies and Development in Andhra Pradesh, Centre for Youth and Social Development in Odisha and Pathey Trust in Gujrat to track and monitor state budgets for their commitments to promoting gender equity and empowerment and to strengthen budget analysis from a gender perspective. Through these partnerships, the hope is that a critical mass of budget groups with requisite skills and technical capacities will be formed who can advocate for the integration of Gender Responsive Budgeting at the state and national level.

NFI would like to collaborate with multiple stakeholders including civil society organisations, the print and electronic media, public policy institutions, and people’s representatives to create a national momentum around pressing budget reform issues. NFI believes that a synergistic and strategic approach can help leverage the impact and gains of civil society budget work to meet India’s developmental challenges.

To learn more about NFI’s budget work portfolio and how one can contribute to the sector’s effectiveness,

Information about our partners

NFI with the support of Ford Foundation is supporting eleven civil society groups working on public budgets in more than ten states of India. To learn more about the diverse work that our partners undertake in different governance contexts that exist in the country, please click here


Newsletter :

In an effort to enrich the applied budget discourse, National Foundation for India (NFI) has conceived of a quarterly newsletter ‘The Budget Bulletin’ to discuss and deliberate budget ideas and experiences with particular focus on highlighting success stories, learnings and challenges on budget analysis and policy advocacy work by budget groups. The main readership of the Budget Bulletin includes budget groups as well as other civil society organisations working in the field of governance. It has been conceived as a platform for dialogue and conversation among different groups to critically evaluate, strategize and ideate on issues of transparency, accountability and participatory governance and what they mean in relation to the state’s budgetary and fiscal activities. The newsletters can be downloaded here




    THE BUDGET BULLETIN:A NEWSLETTER ON BUDGET ISSUES,Volume II (December 2012- February 2013)


Budget Work in India: a Stocktaking

As part of our role in strategically shaping and influencing the budget arena, NFI has commissioned this background paper written by Mr. Gopakumar Thampi that traces the genesis, conceptual underpinnings and current state of play characterizing civil society’s engagement with budget issues. Besides, identifying certain common strands and multiple lenses in which to view the budget sector, the paper highlights some of the key issues facing the sector and the potential pathways to advance budget work in the future in India. The publication can be   downloaded here

Events and Workshops

Capacity-Building Workshops

While country-level improvements in budget transparency and accountability have been made by budget groups, budget groups still face skills’ and knowledge barriers in engaging with an increasingly complex public finance management system. To address these challenges, NFI has designed a series of knowledge-building and capacity enhancement exercises with budget groups. To learn more about the various workshops and trainings that NFI has held over the years, please click here

Annual Meeting of Budget Groups

The annual budget meeting is an opportunity for budget groups and civil society actors in the field of governance to deliberate and collaborate on issues of strategic importance. As such, it is a platform for cross-learning, networking and sharing, providing a space for diverse groups to collectively reflect on some of the ongoing debates on governance accountability, transparency and participation.

To read more about the last annual meeting of budget groups held in May 2013 on ‘Just Governance and Civil Society Interventions- a Systemic Approach’  please click here

Strategic and Envisioning Workshop

The strategic and envisioning workshop with budget experts and state budget groups are planned with the objective of reflecting on some of the crucial questions relating to budget work's impact and potential in improving inclusive governance in the country.

The purpose being to reflect on the significant shifts, developments and trends in the budget sector in terms of what has changed; to look at different strategies and practices that have worked and which can be scaled up or replicated for greater impact; to examine the systemic disincentives, barriers, hindrances in improving access to budget processes and enhancing fiscal accountability; and to develop pathways of action to overcome the gaps and barriers that CSOs face in building the stable and skilled capacity, knowledge and skills to work on budget issues and gain recognition.
To read more about the last strategic and envisioning workshop held in December 2012, please click here

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