K.M. Mani Centre for Budget Studies inaugurated

The budget is not merely a statement of financial receipts and expenditure of the government, says Vice-President Hamid Ansari.

“It is a significant political statement of government policy and its priorities for economy,” he said after inaugurating K. M. Mani Centre for Budget Studies here on Sunday.

Cusat ADJUNCT

The centre is coming up at the Cochin University of Science and Technology in honour of State Finance Minister K.M. Mani, who holds the record of having presented 10 State budgets and is currently working on the eleventh.

“It is befitting that the centre has been named after K.M. Mani, a distinguished public servant and political leader,” Ansari said.

“I am told he has created history of sorts by presenting 10 budgets in his capacity as Finance Minister of Kerala. I congratulate him on this deserving honour,” the Vice-President added.

DELICATE EXERCISE

The budget is also a plan for raising revenues through taxation, borrowing and incurring expenditure under relevant heads. The government channelises its financial resources thus raised in various sectors of the economy and government, Ansari said.

Given the finite nature of financial resources, budget making is a delicate exercise. It aims at achieving a fine balance between competing objectives and priorities within budgetary constraints. The Constitution of India does not use the term ‘budget’ but only refers to annual financial statements.

LOCAL BODIES

As per Articles 112 and 202, the Union and State Governments are constitutionally mandated to prepare and present ‘budgets’.

These, the Vice President said, are financial statements of receipts and expenditure, both current and capital. The importance of research and analysis in the technical and political aspects of budget making cannot be gainsaid.

There are around 2.4 lakh local self-government bodies, including panchayats and municipalities, in dire need of better budgetary management for financial viability and sustainability.

CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE

They would be important beneficiaries of advanced research and training in this area. “And there aren’t many institutions dedicated to the study and research related to budget making and management,” Ansari said.

The Vice-President hoped that the K.M. Mani Centre would initiate a new chapter in the annals of public finances research. “It should give due emphasis to sub-national finances to lay foundation of a new centre of excellence in budget studies and related policy formulations,” he said.

vinson.kurian@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 17, 2013)
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