Voice of the Peo­ple

Pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion in bud­get mak­ing

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - TAYYABA PARACHA

Be­ing a demo­cratic state, the gov­ern­ment should give cit­i­zens the right to have a say in the pub­lic

and value their con­cerns and opinion while mak­ing de­ci­sions that in­flu­ence their lives. Such prac­tice is how­ever nowhere to be seen when it comes to the most im­por­tant is­sue at lo­cal level; the bud­get mak­ing process. The com­mon peo­ple know about their needs and un­der­stand the is­sues of their re­spec­tive ar­eas no bet­ter than any­one who has no ground level knowl­edge of the needs of the peo­ple. While a proper con­sul­ta­tion ses­sion should have been or­ga­nized with the lo­cals of the re­spec­tive ar­eas, the district gov­ern­ment bud­get was com­piled with­out the lo­cals, giv­ing them no chance to speak for them­selves. Ig­nor­ing the lo­cal peo­ple’s voice and their fore­most needs leads to the fail­ure of bud­get mak­ing process and causes pub­lic agony and mis­trust on the gov­ern­ment. It is very im­por­tant that the elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment take part in the bud­get mak­ing process as these are the peo­ple trusted by the pub­lic to point out their con­cerns. One rea­son for this lack of par­tic­i­pa­tion is the lack of civic knowl­edge both at the ends of pub­lic and lo­cal gov­ern­ments. As long as peo­ple won’t be aware of their right to have a say in the is­sues that di­rectly con­cern their daily life mat­ters, noth­ing can im­prove their lives and pro­vide them a chance to bet­ter life. No doubt there is il­lit­er­acy, which makes most of the mat­ters in­com­pre­hen­si­ble for the lo­cals, but mech­a­nism of feed­back and col­lab­o­rated feed­back mech­a­nism to make the bud­get more peo­ple cen­tric is still pos­si­ble if given a thought. —Rawalpindi

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