Published Date: Oct 31, 2019

National budget or public budget is not just a dream or a vision, it is the reflection of the aspiration of 16 million people in independent Bangladesh and It is a matter of constitutional rights of all citizens of the country. National development and poverty reduction can not be possible in any way without the joint development of every citizen, ethnicity and region and ethnicity. That is why a balanced national investment plan is needed which should be based on the characteristics and needs of the people. In this case, In Article 19.1 (a) of the Constitution, it is necessary to remember the balanced development of the people and the special arrangements of the backward population.

The current government in Bangladesh is very much centralised. In order to make a rural road or to provide health services in a remote area or to arrange education, the decision has to be made from the capital. Not only the regulatory control, effective applications are also monitored from Dhaka. In central governance, every decision is considered in the bureaucratic level repeatedly, at least after a dozen steps. It does not require any accountability, and one is charged on a bribe or harassment on every stage.

According to the Constitution, powerful local government has now become an assertion. In the past four decades, the main manifestation of the discussion and movement was the administrative emancipation. In this case, the development of decentralization of administrative power and the expansion of national budget and development plans hasn’t been a major topic of the policy discussions lately. However, it is important to ensure the direct participation of ordinary citizens in the national planning and development process and the development plan along with the distribution / tax structure for the distribution of the structure depends on the 11, 59 and 60 paragraphs of the constitution. Because it is very difficult to ensure the direct participation of ordinary citizens and professionals in the limited area where the opportunity to participate in effective national planning and budget process is very limited. That is why effective public participation is not possible without the budget process and the expansion of the structure. On the other hand, transparency and accountability of the activities of the country is almost absent due to lack of direct involvement of the people for a long time in the policy making process, which has resulted in corruption being the biggest structural obstacle to eradicating poverty. Although the good news is that the government has taken a policy decision to revive the district-based budget and formulate the upazila five-year plan as part of their election promise. We are hopeful to create new opportunities for the people’s budget movement.

Why the Democratic budget movement?

Even a few days ago, “price of the goods, increased or decreased?” was the key point of discussion of the common people regarding the budget. There was a time when knowledge about the budget was only a part of economics and political science students syllabus. Without the top trader class, there were very less discussions on budget. The traditional congratulatory message of the pro-government groups and the opposition’s rejection of the opposition party used to filled the streets and newspapers.

In order to upturn different stages of a Post 90’s democratic state system, the growing interest in professionals, intellectuals, non-governmental organizations and civil society, at different levels of the national budget, there has been a way to create new discussions centering around the budget. In the continuation of this, people belonging from various categories are getting involved in pre-budget discussions and budget reactions. Sector based budgeting, especially budgeting of women, farmers, disabled etc are being proposed from different sectors of the society. Basically the growth of field-based budget allocation is the main tone of these discussions. All these proposals and discussions centered on budget are aimed at top government officials, however, the dialogue is continuing with suspicions whether the proposal reaches the top authority of the government or not. And the ministers are left with very little scope to hear the demands of the people of such a number of profession after listening to the top business community of businessmen. So, to reach the public expectations and demand the government, the budget formulation and implementation must be close to the public, so that the budget process will be decentralized and democratized. In view of this objective, this initiative aims to develop a citizen endeavor and theoretical structure in the title of the democratic budget. In this move to democratize the budget, people of local civic committees, development organizations, grassroots organizations, media / groups and the elite people of the society are working to advocate with the central and local government for the proper development plan of all the people of our country. This is a continuous process and the aim is to unite everyone together.

The main consciousness of the democratic budget

  1. Ensure direct participation of the people in national budget formulation.
  2. Preparing budget for the district-based budget (in the initial stage) and in other local government-level scheduled areas as a strategy.
  3. Avoiding sector-based methods or budget allocations and allocating sector-based budgets in the district or regional budget structure.
  4. Separate sectors / divisions of national budget and regional budget. Specifying the potential sectors for decentralization at the regional level, such as education, health, women, children, agricultural expansion, industries, disaster management etc.
  5. Identify the supplementary sectors of national budget and regional budget.
  6. Increase resources and investments based on regional characteristics and needs.
  7. Allocate budget at district / upazila / union level on the basis of tax justice.
  8. Prioritizing more poverty-prone areas to ensure balanced national development.
  9. Consider regional and ethnic discrimination.
  10. Ensure effective participation of MPs.
  11. Publish detailed financial statements on the basis of district / region in the national parliament.
  12. Plan the budget considering the environment and specify other criteria / index.
  13. For the regional budget, not only logistics, but also to taking steps to improve the quality of service is required. Give the management and effective manpower a priority in this case
  14. Reflecting the beneficiaries / beneficial persons views on the budget.
  15. Enabling the electronic government (e-Governance) to engage the public in the budget process.