Study finds some lacunae by Assam in access to budget info

A study conducted by Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) has detected several lacunae on Assam government`s side in terms of ensuring public access to budget information.

Last Updated: Mar 09, 2011, 21:02 PM IST

Guwahati: A study conducted by Centre for
Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) has detected
several lacunae on Assam government`s side in terms of
ensuring public access to budget information.

Advocating the need to address the lacunae at the
earliest to ensure better fiscal decentralisation, the study
identified a number of good practices adopted by the state
government but also found major gaps in public access to
budget information.
The state government does not provide many of the
budget documents on the government website and also does not
release to the public any report on the steps taken to address
audit observations, CBGA Executive Director Subrat Das said.

Besides, in the process of formulation of five year
plan and annual plans, most of the consultations are held
with the legislators with few officials from the respective
departments only.
The state plan documents also do not provide extensive
information on women`s component plan or gender budgeting, Das
added.

The analysis points out that the state government does
not clearly explain the basis on which various departments are
reporting allocations under scheduled caste sub-plan, tribal
sub-plan and women`s component plan and gender budgeting.

The budget documents further do not provide
dis-aggregated information on devolution of funds to rural and
urban local bodies at different tiers, he said.

The documents also do not provide information on the
district-wise break-up of allocation and expenditure from the
state budget.

On the positive fronts, the state government`s budget
document provides complete information about outstanding debt
at the beginning as well as at the end of the fiscal year.

The documents present extensive information on the
transfer of resources between public sector undertakings and
the state government, researcher Yasmin Banu Laskar of the
North East Network which coordinated with CGBA said.

The state government also produces all the statements
that are required under the disclosure norms of the State`s
Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act. The state
Finance Commission has been constituted in a timely manner at
regular intervals over the last decade, Laskar said.

PTI