One of the biggest problems of national governance is that Allocated funds for various causes, initiatives and projects disappear due to corruption, mismanagement or just lie unutilised due to poor or non-existant public oversight.
Another aspect is that the public Audit watchdogs in many countries are unable to function independently, and/or their reports are not publically available / scrutinized / debated when necessary.
Many a times the public fund expenditure issues come to limelight when irreparable damage has been done, due to media expose or due to increasingly used Right-to-Information provisions, however media moves on to next issue, and there is no permanant vigil over the public expenditure.
The issue is rampant in Asia, Africa and even in developed countries.
We need a Global countrywise repository for monitoring, tracking, identifying possible issues in public expenditure. The domain is important enough for Wikimedia, and the support / backing crucial enough for the platform to succeed.
Pl. consider this request to start a wiki to monitor the government spending, possibly named as GovSpendWatch-Wiki
This is a massive undertaking, and will be difficult to execute quickly from scratch. As initial check suggests, there are many sources of information. The faster we bring together the existing sources of information in a usable structure, the better it will be.
We need to act as a central publicly accessable and easy to use / modify repository for existing public expenditure info and then start filling the information gaps.
Broad outline of the Initiative
- A plausible promise / Motive - Why someone would join a group - Large part of News media and people's lament comprises of issues with various aspects of budget allocation, spending and effectiveness of public funds, but there is a lack of critically reviewed single source permanant location for the public and media oversight on the pubic expenditure. This initiative it to remedy the same issue.
- An effective tool / Means - Overcoming challenges to coordination of the group - Wiki technology popularised by wikipedia and now adopted by many crowd sourced Commons-based peer production projects has proven itself to be an effective tool for allowing varying degree of participation of individual efforts from many people, who are available at various places and times.
- An acceptable bargain with the users / Opportunity - What to expect and what is expected of someone who joins the group - While large number of people are unable to participate in grassroots level citizen mobilisation, however there participation and local understanding of the effectiveness of public expenditure can create a great source to eventually influence public policy.
What will be a part of the initiative, over time...
Focusing on the public expenditure @ central, state and local government level,
- sources and amounts of government revenues
- budget allocation
- expenditure tracking
- auditing and monitoring of delivered public services / infrastructure
,to achieve transparency, accountability, wider citizen oversight over Govt income, budgetting, expenditure and resultant quality of public services / infrastructure.
Prasad S. Gadgil
Inspired from successful efforts of activists of "Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan" who led a campaign in Rajasthan, India to review spend of allocated Govt funds @ local level, which led to RTI (Right to Information) being legislated at state and later at national level in India.
Non Government, Citizen group efforts - India
Government efforts - India
Proposal posted on the mailing list foundation-l, pl. check the following link for the post, and review the related thread for feedback,