India

Which countries lead in budget accountability? Which ones need improvement? Explore our data and recommendations for each of the 120 countries assessed.

 

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Open Budget Survey Results

Public Participation

9

Budget Oversight

61

Transparency

37

Open Budget Survey 2021

Government budget decisions – what taxes to levy, what services to provide, and how much debt to take on – have important consequences for all people in society. When governments provide information and meaningful channels for the public to engage in these decisions, we can better ensure public money is spent on public interests.

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The Open Budget Survey (OBS) is the world’s only independent, comparative and fact-based research instrument that uses internationally accepted criteria to assess public access to central government budget information; formal opportunities for the public to participate in the national budget process; and the role of budget oversight institutions, such as legislatures and national audit offices, in the budget process.

The survey helps local civil society assess and confer with their government on the reporting and use of public funds. This 8th edition of the OBS covers 120 countries.

Summary
Country Specific Assessments
Country summary EN
pdf, 273.36 KB
Questionnaire EN
pdf, 810.92 KB
37 /100

This part of the OBS measures public access to information on how the central government raises and spends public resources. It assesses the online availability, timeliness, and comprehensiveness of eight key budget documents using 109 equally weighted indicators and scores each country on a scale of 0 to 100. A transparency score of 61 or above indicates a country is likely publishing enough material to support informed public debate on the budget.

Public availability of budget documents in India

Key
Available to the Public
Published Late, or Not Published Online, or Produced for Internal Use Only
Not Produced
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Document 2010 2012 2015 2017 2019 2021
Pre-Budget Statement
Executive’s Budget Proposal
Enacted Budget
Citizens Budget
In-Year Reports
Mid-Year Review
Year-End Report
Audit Report

How comprehensive is the content of the key budget documents that India makes available to the public?

Key
61-100 / 100
41-60 / 100
1-40 / 100
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Key budget document Document purpose and contents Fiscal year assessed Document content score
Pre-Budget Statement Discloses the broad parameters of fiscal policies in advance of the Executive's Budget Proposal; outlines the government's economic forecast, anticipated revenue, expenditures, and debt. 2021-22 Not Produced
Executive’s Budget Proposal Submitted by the executive to the legislature for approval; details the sources of revenue, the allocations to ministries, proposed policy changes, and other information important for understanding the country's fiscal situation. 2020-21 59
Enacted Budget The budget that has been approved by the legislature. 2020-21 28
Citizens Budget A simpler and less technical version of the government's Executive’s Budget Proposal or the Enacted Budget, designed to convey key information to the public. 2020-21 25
In-Year Reports Include information on actual revenues collected, actual expenditures made, and debt incurred at different intervals; issued quarterly or monthly. 2020-21 59
Mid-Year Review A comprehensive update on the implementation of the budget as of the middle of the fiscal year; includes a review of economic assumptions and an updated forecast of budget outcomes. 2020-21 Not Produced
Year-End Report Describes the situation of the government's accounts at the end of the fiscal year and, ideally, an evaluation of the progress made toward achieving the budget's policy goals. 2018-19 Published Late
Audit Report Issued by the supreme audit institution, this document examines the soundness and completeness of the government's year-end accounts. 2018-19 Published Late

What changed in OBS 2021?

India's score declined because it was:

Unable to publish the Year-End Report for FY 2018-19 online in a timely manner, i.e. within 12 months of the end of the reporting financial year. In earlier years, the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) used to publish Year-End Report for the Central Government Budget within 12 months of the completion of the financial Year. Subsequently, the Year-End Report for the FY 2020-21 was published in time, by December 2021. The Open Budget Survey is a biennial survey, which captures the practices observed in each country during a specific reference period. IBP acknowledges that the decline in score is temporary and due to a specific time reference in the survey.
Unable to publish the Audit Report for FY 2018-19 online in a timely manner, i.e. within 18 months of the end of the reporting financial year.
The Open Budget Survey is a biennial survey, which captures the practices observed in each country during a specific reference period. In most of the previous years, the Audit Report used to be published within 12 months after completion of the Financial Year. IBP acknowledges this decline in score compared to previous rounds (of OBS) could be caused by external factors such as the onset of the COVID -19 pandemic.
Did not publish the six monthly review with revised and updated macroeconomic forecasts or estimates for the remainder of the year.
Government of India produces Monthly Economic Review Reports (https://dea.gov.in/monthly-economic-report-table) of the implementation of the budget, which provide at least partially the information that a Mid-Year Review of the budget is expected (as per global standards) to present. However, a designated Mid-Year Review publication is not brought out after it was discontinued by Government of India a few years ago, and the OBS methodology does not recognize the Monthly Economic Reports as substitute for the Mid-Year Review of the budget.

Recommendations

India should prioritize the following actions to improve budget transparency:

Sustain and institutionalize the practice of publishing Year-End Report and Audit Report online in a timely manner.
Produce and publish the Pre-Budget Statement and Mid-Year Review online in a timely manner.
Include in the Executive's Budget Proposal data on the financial position of the government and data on the macroeconomic forecast.
Improve the comprehensiveness of the Citizens Budget and Enacted Budget.
9 /100

The OBS assesses the formal opportunities offered to the public for meaningful participation in the different stages of the budget process. It examines the practices of the central government’s executive, the legislature, and the supreme audit institution (SAI) using 18 equally weighted indicators, aligned with the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency’s Principles of Public Participation in Fiscal Policies , and scores each country on a scale from 0 to 100.

India has a public participation score of 9 (out of 100). The global average for public participation is 14.

For more information, see here  for innovative public participation practices around the world.

Extent of opportunities for public participation in the budget process

33
/100
Formulation
(executive)
0
/100
Approval
(legislature)
0
/100
Implementation
(executive)
0
/100
Audit
(supreme audit institution)
Key
0-40: Few
41-60: Limited
61-100: Adequate

Recommendations

India's Ministry of Finance has established pre-budget deliberations during budget formulation but, to further strengthen public participation in the budget process, should also prioritize the following actions:

Pilot mechanisms to monitor budget implementation.
Expand mechanisms during budget formulation to engage any civil society organization or member of the public who wishes to participate.
Sustain the practice of actively engaging with vulnerable and underrepresented communities, through civil society organizations representing them, by holding deliberations on social spending policies.
Sustain the practice of publishing a summary report of the pre-budget consultations by topic.

India's Parliament should prioritize the following actions:

Allow members of the public or civil society organizations to testify during its hearings on the budget proposal prior to its approval.
Allow members of the public or civil society organizations to testify during its hearings on the Audit Report.

India's Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General should prioritize the following actions to improve public participation in the budget process:

Establish formal mechanisms for the public to assist in developing its audit program and to contribute to relevant audit investigations.
61 /100

The OBS examines the role that legislatures and supreme audit institutions (SAIs) play in the budget process and the extent to which they provide oversight; each country is scored on a scale from 0 to 100 based on 18 equally weighted indicators. In addition, the survey collects supplementary information on independent fiscal institutions (see Box).

The legislature and supreme audit institution in India, together, provide adequate oversight during the budget process, with a composite oversight score of 61 (out of 100). The global average for composite oversight is 52. Taken individually, the extent of each institution’s oversight is shown below:

Legislative oversight

0
58
100
limited

Audit oversight

0
67
100
adequate
Key
0-40: Few
41-60: Limited
61-100: Adequate

Recommendations

India's Parliament provides limited oversight during the planning stage of the budget cycle and adequate oversight during the implementation stage. To improve oversight, the following actions should be prioritized:

The legislature should debate budget policy before the Executive’s Budget Proposal is tabled and approve recommendations for the upcoming budget.
In practice, ensure the legislature is consulted before the executive reduces spending due to revenue shortfalls.

To strengthen independence and improve audit oversight by the India Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General, the following actions are recommended:

Require legislative or judicial approval to appoint the head of the supreme audit institution.
Ensure audit processes are reviewed by an independent agency.

   

Methodology

  • Only documents published and events, activities, or developments that took place through 31 December 2020 were assessed in the OBS 2021.
     
  • The survey is based on a questionnaire completed in each country by an independent budget expert:
    Nilachala Acharya; Simonti Chakraborty
    Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA)

    [email protected]; [email protected]
  • To further strengthen the research, each country’s draft questionnaire is also reviewed by an anonymous independent expert.
Past reports
Years
Language
Country summary EN
PDF, en
Questionnaire EN
PDF, en
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Questionnaire EN
PDF, EN
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Questionnaire EN
PDF, EN
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Questionnaire EN
PDF, EN
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Questionnaire EN
PDF, EN
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Questionnaire EN
PDF, EN
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Questionnaire EN
PDF, EN