The platform, Open Budgets India (OBI), has resulted from collective efforts by many organisations and individuals, led by Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA). CBGA is an independent, not-for-profit policy research organisation working towards enhancing transparency and accountability and fostering people's participation in governance by demystifying government budgets.
Increasingly, people across the country are keen to understand and participate meaningfully in discussions on government budgets. However, the gaps in availability of relevant and accessible information on budgets in India at different levels have created a hindrance in this regard. Accessibility to comprehensive, relevant and easy to use data on budgets becomes a challenge as we move from the level of the Union Government to the States and then further below to the local levels. The improvements over the last decade with regard to the availability and quality of fiscal data in the country have been uneven - across States and across different types of schemes.
In this context, our endeavour is to strengthen the discourse and demand for availability of all budget information in the public domain in a timely and accessible manner, at all levels of government in the country. As part of the efforts in this sphere, we have developed the portal - Open Budgets India (OBI), which is meant to be a comprehensive and user-friendly open data portal that can facilitate free, easy and timely access to relevant data on government budgets in India.
Evolution of the OBI since 2015
OBI is an on-going initiative, and its evolution so far can be divided broadly into two phases. In the first phase, which was over the years 2015 to 2019, OBI was conceptualised and developed through the collective efforts of many individuals and organisations led by the research team at CBGA. In this first phase of development of OBI, the support and technical inputs provided by organisations like Macromoney Research Initiatives Private Limited, DataKind Bangalore, Centre for Internet and Society, and DataMeet played an important role.
The second phase of development of the OBI, which started in early 2020, has been steered by Public Finance researchers at CBGA and multidisciplinary team at CivicDataLab (CDL). CDL has been the lead technology partner of the OBI in this phase, with CBGA leading the research and development work relating to fiscal information and data.
This second phase of OBI has focused on vertically deepening our efforts towards making relevant fiscal information available in public domain, not only at the level of the Union Government and the States, but also for districts and below. The central idea behind the second phase has been to present a range of analytics, in addition to the raw fiscal data and budget documents, which could be relevant for facilitating public engagement with fiscal governance issues.
The analytics have been presented in the form of a number of new dashboards on OBI and are centred around data on flagship Central Schemes in the country as well as select State Schemes for a number of States. Additionally, we are also making concerted efforts to enable the non-technical users to comprehend the technicalities around government budgets in the country and the fiscal data and analytics.
New Dashboards and Resources on OBI
The new dashboards and resources integrated on OBI in this second phase include:
Schemes Dashboard containing the fiscal data and relevant analytics for 30 Central Schemes and nearly 75 State Schemes from 20 States;
Sectors Dashboard comprising fiscal data on more than 10 social and economic sectors for all States;
District Dashboard comprising district-wise fiscal data for all districts in six selected States for 12 Central Schemes;
State Budget Explorers for three States that present the State Budget data in machine-readable formats;
Budget Basics microsite which provides easy to comprehend explanations of fundamental concepts, terminologies and processes relating to government budgets;
Short Videos meant to facilitate better understanding of some of the important developments and strategies in budgeting in India; and
A discussion forum on budgets named the Budget Forum, which is meant to be a hub for discussions on public finance related topics and serve as a platform for sharing of relevant resources on budgets by different users.
Constituency-wise Fiscal Data & Dashboard
Access to Constituency-wise data can enable the elected representatives to engage a lot more effectively with the processes of policy design, expenditure priority setting and monitoring of implementation. It can also strengthen public oversight and participation in governance. This is particularly relevant for strengthening public financial management in the socio-economic sectors, where there is a need for improving allocative efficiency, utilisation of public resources, quality of services delivered and the development outcomes.
Against such a backdrop, CBGA, in collaboration with its technology partner CivicDataLab, has also carried out an in-depth analytical exercise to map fiscal data for a number of development schemes to the Assembly Constituencies (ACs) and Parliamentary Constituencies (PCs) in six selected States. The overarching objective of this initiative is to explore how fiscal information available to the citizens and their elected representatives can be made more relevant locally in order to strengthen their oversight and participation in public financial management.
Guided by such a vision, the initiative has:
Mapped the administrative boundaries (Gram Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies) to the boundaries of the ACs and PCs (covering all the ACs and PCs) in six States, viz, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh;
Collected, organised and mapped disaggregated fiscal information on major development schemes into ACs and PCs in the selected States (covering MGNREGS, SBM-G, SBM-U, PMAY-G, NSAP, PMFBY, PM-KISAN, SmSA, MDM, NHM, ICDS and PMMVY) for three to four financial years; and
Developed analytics and visualizations with the AC-wise and PC-wise fiscal data to facilitate its uptake by different actors in the governance landscape.
The Constituency-wise mapping of fiscal information for selected schemes for the selected States has been presented on a dashboard -- the Constituency Dashboard -- on the OBI portal. This 'open data' dashboard provides:
The methodology developed for mapping the administrative units of a State into Constituencies;
Complete and up-to-date Geo-files for the six selected States (i.e. the files that have mapped the administrative units into ACs and PCs);
The methodologies for mapping fiscal data on 12 schemes into ACs and PCs; and
The Constituency-wise mapped fiscal data for 12 schemes for the six selected States for three to four financial years (2018-19 to 2021-22).
This initiative, over the two phases of development, has received financial support and guidance of a number of institutions, which include:
Last updated on 25th February 2023.