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A crucial step towards encouraging public understanding of budget related issues and promoting the participation of civil society in budget processes is the demystification of the discourse on budgets and governance in the country, which is usually replete with jargon and technicalities. CBGA, since its inception, has made sustained efforts towards generating awareness on budgets and also for enhancing the capacity of civil society organisations to use budgets in their work. In order to do so, Orientation Workshops and Thematic Workshops are conducted with civil society organisations across the country. Another way by which information on budgets is disseminated is by conducting Internship Programmes for interested individuals / organisations. CBGA also prepares Budget Primers and Manuals whereby information is presented in a comprehensible manner.
In addition to short term training programmes, CBGA has also initiated partnerships on budget transparency and accountability in India. This initiative has supported a number of civil society organisations in taking up budget work as a strategy in their work on governance. This is being done mainly in the backward States and those States which do not yet have an established State Budget Group.
a. Orientation to Budget Analysis and Advocacy
Orientation Workshops on budget analysis and advocacy are meant primarily to introduce civil society actors to budget work and address their fear of the technicalities involved with budgets. Strategies for using budget information to strengthen their advocacy efforts are also shared with the participants in these workshops. Usually, such workshops are of two to three days' duration.
b. Thematic Workshops on Budget Analysis and Advocacy
Thematic Capacity Building Workshops on budget analysis and advocacy are held with civil society organisations from different parts of the country, particularly those who would have already participated in CBGA's Orientation Workshops. These workshops help the participants comprehend the technicalities and methodologies involved in assessing budgets from a certain perspective. They play a critical role in spreading budget work in the country, since they try to enhance the capacity of the participants to actually carry out budget analysis and advocacy. In the past, CBGA has conducted thematic workshops throughout the country covering a wide range of areas such as Budgeting for Social Sectors, Gender Budgeting, Budgeting for Children, Scheduled Caste Sub Plan and Tribal Sub Plan, Planning and Budgeting by Panchayati Raj Institutions, and Budgeting for the North Eastern Region.
CBGA has also conducted Internship Programmes for the staff of selected civil society organisations who have been keen to initiate budget work. Some of these internship efforts, such as those with the staff of National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) and North East Network (NEN), have been very successful.
d. Budget Primers and Manuals
One of the important efforts of CBGA has been to bring out Primers and Manuals on budget. These publications are meant to help the interested but uninitiated readers in comprehending the important aspects of government budgeting and civil society budget work in India.
The Primers brought out by CBGA include the following:
e. Budget Awareness Briefs
The organisation is planning to bring out a series of Budget Awareness Briefs in order to popularize the concepts and techniques involved in analysis of budgets from the perspective of gender, dalits, adivasis, minorities, children, education, and health, among others.
This special issue of Budget Track focusses on the key concerns relating to Taxation in India. In keeping with this, we have an interesting mix of contributions that look at some critical aspects such as expanding the fiscal space through taxation, tax havens, tax exemptions in India and more
People's Budget Initiative
A civil society coalition, which campaigns for the inclusion of people's movements, grassroots organisations and national and international NGOs in the policy processes that determine the priorities underlying government budgets in India.