Thiruvananthapuram: Vice President M.Hamid Ansari has said that the Union and state governments and the 2.4 lakh local self government institutions in the country were in dire need of better budgetary management for financial viability and sustainability.

Inaugurating the K.M.Mani Centre for Budget Studies here on Sunday, he said the governments in India would benefit from advanced research and training in budget making.

The budget, he said, was not merely a statement of financial receipts and expenditure of the government. “It is a significant political statement of government policy and its priorities for the economy. It reflects either the country’s or the state’s or the panchayat’s economy and shapes the direction in which the government of the day wants to take it as per its policies and priorities”.

Mr.Ansari termed budget making as an exercise in achieving a fine balance between competing objectives and priorities of the government, within the budgetary constraint and the finite nature of financial resources.

He said the new centre named after state Finance Minister K.M.Mani, would open up a whole range of opportunities for learning and research in the area of budget studies. He hoped the centre would initiate a new chapter in public finances research, with emphasis on sub- national finances for the benefit of Kerala and the country as a whole.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Leader of the Opposition V.S.Achuthanandan, Shashi Tharoor MP, Mr.Mani, Member, Finance Commission M.Govinda Rao, Honorary Director of the Centre for Budget Studies M.A.Oommen, Vice Chancellor, CUSAT Ramachandran Thekkedath and Registrar A.Ramachandran also spoke.

The centre to be established at the Cochin University of Science and Technology, will focus on local government budgeting and state and sub state level fiscal relations. It seeks to establish an archive of budget documents covering the Travancore- Kochi era and Kerala budgets, and institute a long term research project on the political economy of budgets and budget making.

It will undertake a special study on the public debt of Kerala and establish a state budget observatory website to provide information on the state and local finance of Kerala.

The centre will also create a cadre of experts on budget and public budget making.