India Uncut

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Matching outcome to intention

The Indian Express reports:
If all goes according to plan, in May 2006, citizens will have the first quantifiable indication on just how the government is spending the money it collects in taxes.

In a first, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today tabled an "Outcome Budget" in Parliament that seeks to pinpoint scheme-wise targets, quarter-to-quarter, on each and every planned expenditure by Central ministries and departments in a financial year.

The annual document lists clearly-defined deliverables for each scheme/programme, its budgetary outlay, processes and timelines, as well as risk factors in meeting the target. Next May, when the second Outcome Budget will be tabled, there should be clear answers to which targets have been met - and those that have not.
This is a fantastic initiative, as this will empower us with the information about what precisely is being done with the money we pay in taxes. In a sense, it's the right to information act applied to the application of the union budget. This information will probably be released in jargonese, but there are enough people around to demystify it for everyone. Great move.

Cross-posted on The Indian Economy Blog.
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