A fourteen-day internship program on ‘Local Governance and Budgeting’ was organized at Bodhigram by Institute for Sustainable Development & Governance (ISDG) from Dec 7th to 21st, 2016. Twenty eight participants took part in this residential program. Experts on budget analysis including local governance experts and faculty from ISDG, Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA, Govt. of Kerala) and State Institute of Rural Development (SIRD) also led classes.
This program on local governance and budgeting was specifically designed to give the students a broader understanding of the areas of study such as public policy, budget analysis, governance and the transparency and accountability of governance mechanism. The field research was designed to give the students first-hand information on the sources of local finance, the budget priorities through the allocation pattern of the development fund across different sectors in a given panchayat, the on-ground picture of the realities of living conditions of the people, the effect of expenditure on the livelihood of the beneficiaries and hurdles in realizing the development goals.
The internship was conducted over four phases. In the first phase, the students went through the basics of the planning process in local self-governments, the preparation of budgets at grama panchayat levels, the methods of participatory decision making and the systems transparency and accountability at work at the local levels. In the second phase, a research oriented field work was undertaken with clear intention of bring out a research output. The students were guided in the preparation of questionnaire, conduct of field work and in the analysis of data. The interactive sessions with the elected representatives of Grama panchayats and the beneficiaries of development schemes implemented by the selected Grama panchayat were part of the field work. In the third phase, the students were trained in report writing along with organization of book reviews, brainstorming sessions and group discussions. The final phase was that of evaluation. The students completed a project report and a presentation on the key findings of their project report. Certificates were awarded to all twenty two students, who successfully completed the internship.