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India ranks 53rd in budget transparency, accountability: IBP survey

International Budget Partnership (IBP) has provided a transparency score of 49 out of 100 to India’s Union budget process. The provided score to India is higher than the global average score of 45.

May 1, 2020 11:33 IST
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The Open budget survey has placed India at 53rd position among 117 nations in terms of budget accountability and transparency. The survey conducted by the International Budget Partnership (IBP) released the ranking on April 29, 2020.

IBP has provided a transparency score of 49 out of 100 to India’s Union budget process. The provided score to India is higher than the global average score of 45.

Other developing countries, with an exception to China, have scored much higher transparency scores in comparison to India. New Zealand has gained the highest score of 87.

IBP survey: Key Highlights

•  The open budget survey has been covering 117 countries. It rates the level of transparency in budget across nations on a scale of 0-100.

•  The rating of the countries by the survey is based on various normative and internationally comparable indicators.

•  The survey had evaluated each country on the basis of the availability of eight key budget documents of the Central or Federal government. The survey assessed whether these documents are made public and whether they provide comprehensive information or not.

•  As per the survey, transparency scores of other countries such as Mexico are 82, South Africa is 87, and Brazil is 81. These are among the top six countries that provide extensive information to the public.

India in IBP survey:

India ranks 53rd in the budget transparency survey for 2019. As per the press release on the survey, if there is a comparison of India’s performance in this global biennial survey, there has been a stagnation over the last few years.

As per the survey, India has performed well in timely publishing and providing relevant information in the audit reports and in year reports. It has scored well and higher than in many other countries.

However, as per the observation made by the survey, there has been an absence of a published pre-budget statement as well as a mid-year review in 2018-2019. These have been some of the factors that pulled down the transparency score for Union Budget of India.

Suggestions made by IBP survey for India:

•  Open Budget Survey suggests that providing adequate space for public participation in its budgets can be a major area of improvement for India.

•  Survey also suggests that before the annual budget is presented, the Union government should publish a pre-budget statement that can be scrutinised by the legislatures as well as by the public.

CBGA on IMP survey and budget transparency in India:

Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) stated that the IBP survey has drawn attention to the importance of enhancing accountability and budget transparency for government budgets.

CBGA has provided with research inputs for the development of an assessment of budget transparency and on the efforts put up by the Union government.

As per CBGA, budget transparency has always been an important parameter of fiscal governance. CBGA also states that budget accountability has become more significant at the time of COVID-19 pandemic as a sizeable amount of public expenditure will be getting financed by the higher magnitudes of the government.

To ensure that the hard-earned public resources have been used judiciously, a higher degree of transparency is required to be maintained.

As per their recent study, CBGA had highlighted a major obstruction in budget transparency at a district level. It suggested a number of reforms such as creating an integrated budget and expenditure information architecture at every district headquarter.

There should also be a District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee that will use the information to enforce the accountability of the executive for budget implementation.

About Open Budget Survey:

Open Budget Survey has been a part of the International Budget Partnership’s Open budget initiative. It is a global research and advocacy program that promotes public access to budget information as well as on the adoption of an accountable budget.

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