GS-II: An independent fiscal watchdog for Parliament.
When most people arrive at the ballot box, they vote with their gut. But getting there requires absorbing and shaping months and years of conservation, long held opinions and ideally hard facts and evidence.
What is Parliamentary Budget Office?
A PBO is an independent and impartial body linked directly to Parliament.
It provides technical and objective analysis of Budgets and public finance to the House and its committees.
It can generate quality public debate on Budget policy and public finance, enabling parliamentarians to engage meaningfully in the Budget process.
Traditionally, independent budgetary units are more common in developed countries.
What is the need for such office?
Multiple indicators suggest that executive-led budgetary governance has not been successful in India.
The Indian Parliament is a Budget-approving body contributing to budgetary matters in the following notable ways:
Presentation of the Budget.
Scrutiny of the demands for grants of various ministries.
Consideration and approval of the Budget.
To carry out these functions effectively, Parliament requires institutional, analytical and technical competence.
There is a growing trend among legislatures, particularly within the OECD countries to establish specialised Budget research units.
What are the functioning roles of PBO?
The majority of PBOs have four core functions:
Independent and objective economic forecast.
Budgets generally start with an economic forecast.
A PBO can present either its own independent forecast or it can validate the government’s, providing an objective analysis on the official forecast.
Baseline estimate survey.
It will provide options for spending cuts, outlining a budgetary framework that reflects priorities of the nation, bespoke policy briefs.
Analysing the executive’s Budget proposal.
A PBO is comprised of independent and specialised staff, such as Budget analysts, economists, and public finance experts.
These may include general economic analysis, tax analysis, long-term analysis.
3 . Providing medium- to long-term analysis.
Its output, and the methods by which those outputs are prepared, must be transparent, accessible and understandable.