The RTI Act guarantees citizens the right to receive information of public interest from a government agency. But do ministries follow the timelines stipulated in the RTI Act? How well does this process work? For RTIs filed to obtain implementation progress information for Budget Promises above Rs. 1,000 million, less than half the RTI responses came on time.
What is Budget Promises?
“Budget Promises: Beyond Parliament”is a pioneering online platform that tracks the government’s performance in delivering on its budget promises.
The platform was launched in 2017 and seeks to answer two basic questions about the promises the government makes in its annual Budget Speech:
- (i) Is the government doing what it is saying?
- (ii) Is the government saying what it is doing?
By giving the public access to the answers to these questions, the platform aims to
- (i) Improve visibility of the government’s budget promises; and
- (ii) Hold it accountable for these promises.
How it works
BudgetPromises.Org tracks new expenditure proposals or ‘promises’ in the Budget Speech (listed in Annex 2 of the speech) which have an allocation of over LKR 1,000 million. In 2017, the platform tracked 37 proposals valued at LKR 116,910 million. In 2018, the platform tracks 38 promises with a total value of LKR 149,350 million.
The platform is updated twice a year and assesses each of these promises using two indicators: Openness and Progress. A mid-year assessment of performance for the first six months is released in October of the year and a year-end assessment of performance for the full year is released in April/May of the following year.