Centre for Budget Studies
The vision of the Centre for Budget studies is to become a Centre of Excellence in teaching, research and community outreach in its specialised area in ten years from now. In order to realise its goal, the Centre will make all efforts to excel in teaching, research and its social commitments. The values of the centre will be institutional integrity, openness to knowledge and change, quality and continuous improvement in its teaching, research and extension activities, provision of a safe atmosphere that supports freedom of enquiry and above all commitment to the society. The Centre is in its early stage of development facing a number of challenges. Its steady growth towards the realisation of its vision needs to be addressed with careful planning and thoughtful implementation.
Ever Since the ascendancy of Keynesian Economics, public spending assumed an important role in the functions of governments all over the world. Since 1764, budget presentation is believed to have become a regular practice in British Parliament. Later, other countries also started preparing and presenting annual budgets in their parliaments. Eventually the structure and dimensions of budgets changed significantly. Apart from being annual statements of accounts, budgets are important policy documents with clearly indicated objectives, strategies and policy directives to mobilise economic resources and judiciously allocate expenditures to achieve economic change with inclusiveness, maximum social welfare and better distribution of wealth and incomes. Thus, the budgets significantly impact the governance structure of a country. Though the budgetary impact at the micro, meso and macro levels have been studied by scholars, institutions specialising in such studies are not too many. In India as a whole, there are only 4 or 5 such institutions. Each one of them is focusing on different aspects of budgets. Though the budgetary process of central and state governments is fairly well established, the budget making procedures and practices of Panchayati raj institutions are not properly streamlined. There is a need to make serious analyses of the various implications of the budgets of union and state governments on the economy in general and the budgeting system of local bodies in particular. It is also necessary to substantially improve the budgetary practice in local bodies making them an instrument of financial management at the local level. In India there is a dearth of Universities or institutions conducting academic courses as well as training programmes on Budgets and Fiscal management.
It is in this context that Cochin University of Science and Technology instituted a Centre for Budget Studies (CBS), hereafter referred to as Centre, in 2012. Its main task at hand is to make comprehensive analyses of the budget documents of the India Union, the constituent states and the local self-governments; teach budgetary theories, processes of budget making and policies; train personnel engaged in budget making in the state of Kerala and local bodies; and impart budget awareness to the wider public. The necessary finances for setting up the Centre was provided by the Government of Kerala by allotting funds in the state budget. The Centre is still a toddler making its unsteady strides towards its desired goals.