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Initiate district budget for rural development: Rights group

By farjana - Posted on 23 May 2011

Rights activists urged the government to initiate district budget in the national budget for the next financial year for the development of rural areas as well as achieving the Vision 2021 as envisaged.

They said that the present budget preparation as colonial top down process and there is no alternative to achieve Vision 2021without district budget.

They were speaking at a rally organised by 14 rights based civil society organisations led by EquityBD in front of the National Press Club on Saturday. The organisations include Arpon, Ahish, Online Knowledge Centre, EquityBD, Eso, SDO, MABS, Lead Trust, Prodip, BNNRC, Voice, Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity, Bangladesh Krihsok Federation and Sirak Bangladesh.

SM Saikat of Sirak Bangladesh said people have no participation in preparing the budget. Nor the people from district level have the means to monitor implementation of the budget. Absence of people’s participation in the process and implementation of the budget has given the rise of pervasive corruption.

Feroze Ahmed of Lead Trust said the top down process is basically responsible for growing trend of widening the gap of regional disparity.

Subal Sarkar of Bhumihin Samity said that finance minister hardly takes part in or organises any consultation with farmers who form the vast majority o the population. He interacts only with business leaders and urban elites. It is neither fair nor consistent with the democratic polity.

Dr Sohel Iqbal of EquityBD said under the existing system only the prime minister and finance minister are the authority to prepare the budget and make changes to satisfy those who have the capability of exerting pressure. Even the MPs have little or nor say.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of EquityBD said the finance ministry had in last budget launched a concept paper titled “Unified Budget and District Budget” that pledged that at least one district budget initiative in each of the divisions would be made in course of time.

He said the concept paper has mentioned that budget process must have to change if the government wants to achieve Vision 2021 and the desired 8 percent growth by 2012-13.

He urged finance minister to inform the progress of the initiative mentioned in the concept paper.

Chaired by Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD, the rally was also addressed by Swapan Bhuiyan of Krishok Forum and Kalu Mondol of Krishok Federation.    —UNB


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