India follows a federal fiscal architecture that allows for the provision of public goods and services through multiple tiers of government, with each level being assigned to provide a fixed set of goods and services. But public access to government budgets is constrained at present in a number of ways. Access to budget data diminishes significantly as we go deeper from the union (central) government to local governments, particularly at the district and subdistrict levels. This gap has constrained public engagement with locally relevant budget information and processes.
In such a scenario, the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), in collaboration with a number of other organizations and individuals, has developed Open Budgets India, an open budgets data initiative to help make India’s budgets more open, accessible, usable, and easy to comprehend. Gaurav Godhwani discusses the process of creating Open Budgets India and shares lessons learned along the way.
Gaurav Godhwani is the technical lead for the Open Budgets India initiative, in association with CBGA. This initiative aims to promote greater transparency, accountability, and public participation in budget processes by making India’s budgets open, usable, and easy to comprehend. Gaurav is also one of the chapter leaders for DataKind Bangalore, where he is building a team of pro bono data scientists to help nonprofits tackle projects addressing critical humanitarian problems.
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