About Budget Game
Rationale and Objective
The objective of the Budget Game is for the public at large to understand the myriad trade-offs faced by the Union government in allocating scarce resources. This interactive online playable game has the following features to help you understand:
- Major social sector schemes of the Union government;
- How these schemes are linked to various Sustainable Development Goals; and
- The costs of financing a scheme or sector, and how increasing one sector's allocations might mean a contraction elsewhere.
By creating the Budget Game, the Accountability Initiative hopes that people will get a sense of what it takes to be in the government's shoes amidst all these options.
The Budget Game allows players to understand the importance of government budgets as a:
- Transparency tool: Citizens have the right to know where their money (as taxes) goes.
- Monitoring tool: Demanding better services through financial prioritisation across different social sectors. This can be intra-sectoral too; for example, should the government spend on digitalisation of education or spend on Mid-Day Meals by getting children back to school?
- Accountability tool: Citizens have a right to ask questions challenging the government's policy intent through adequate financial prioritisation. For example, as a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to what extent does the government financially prioritise the goal of ‘Zero Hunger’ or ‘Gender Equality’, among others?
- Planning tool: Now let’s talk about using budgets for planning – one can use budgets for designing interventions, for proposing changes to way things are done, and in thinking ahead to address challenges. For example, if one wants to set up a school – it would be useful to know costs to benchmark against what the government is doing and spending.
In reality, the budget-making process is opaque. Hence, this game is designed to appeal to an audience curious about this process. Finally, contending with these aspects of the Union Budget, the Accountability Initiative hopes for the player to visualise the government and its budget-making process more realistically.